Béchamel Sauce

Bechamel sauce

50g/2 oz butter
50g/2 oz flour
500ml/1 pt milk
A flavouring – see below

  1. Put the butter in a large jug or bowl
  2. Heat in the microwave on full power for about 30 seconds
  3. When melted remove from the microwave
  4. Mix the flour into the butter t create a thick paste
  5. Pour a little of the milk into the paste
  6. Beat/whisk it in to thin the paste a little
  7. Gradually beat in the rest of the milk,  starting with a little at a time and increasing the quantity added as the sauce gets thinner, the idea being to avoid lumps forming.
  8. Put the sauce back in the microwave and cook on full power for 2 minutes
  9. Remove and whisk thoroughly
  10. Cook the sauce for about 8-10 minutes, 2 minutes at a time, whisking every time you remove it from the microwave.
  11. The sauce should now be hot, thickened and smooth.  If not, whisk until it is .
  12. If it is, well done, but unfortunately there’s not a lot you can do wit it because it won’t actually taste of very much because it needs something to flavour it.

Flavouring the sauce

  • At the very least put in a pinch nutmeg right at the beginning when  you are mixing the butter and flour
  • For a more intense flavour, before making the sauce,  gently bring the milk to the boil in a small saucepan with a bay leaf and an onion studded with 2 cloves.  When hot ,  turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 20 mins after which you remove the flavourings and make the sauce with the milk.
  • To achieve a silkier sauce, add a small tub of ricotta, mascarpone or any other cream cheese.
  • Add some prawns (even tinned shrimps works) for a lovely seafood sauce – even better make it with seafood stock (Find a Portuguese shop and look for a small box of Knorr Caldo de Marisco – it’s wonderful and I don’t know why it’s not sold in ‘normal’ supermarkets)
  • Once the sauce is starting to thin  a little add 1 tbsp. French mustard and 50g/2oz strong cheddar cheese, cubed.  As the sauce develops, the cheese will melt into it creating a lovely velvety cheese sauce
  • Make the sauce with chicken stock (hot or cold) instead of milk to achieve a smooth chicken sauce.  Add 1-2 tbsp. crème fraîche  for pure luxury.
  • By now you probably get the idea – that once you know how to achieve that lovely silky texture, you can more or less do what you like with it.



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