Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Homemade Convenience Food: White Sauce(Bechemal)


With the rise of convenience food - pre-flavored foods, awareness or popularity of homemade white sauce(bechemal) has been kicked to the side, but not long ago it was one of the first things young people learned as beginner cooks. It the base of many sauces. Make the white sauce and add cheeses(cheese sauce, alfredo sauce), spices, herbs, seasonings - garlic and onions, wine, tomato sauce(creamy red sauce), broth(cream soups), meat drippings(gravy), or use it without the milk to thicken liquids(Roux). There are so many variations, and you can experiment and be creative with flavorings.

Ingredients:

* 2 tablespoons butter(or oil, but it will change the flavor)
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1 cup milk(and/or chicken stock)

See here for complete recipe.

Variations(from bechamel recipe):

* Sauce Aurore (Tomato cream sauce): whisk 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste into 2 cups of béchamel. Serve with eggs, fish, chicken or vegetables.
* Sauce Crème (Cream sauce): stir 1/2 cup of heavy cream and a squeeze of lemon juice into 2 cups of béchamel. Use over vegetables, fish, chicken or eggs.
* Sauce Dijonnaise (Mustard sauce): add 2-4 tablespoons of Dijon or other mustard to 2 cups of béchamel. Good with fish or ham.
* Sauce Mornay (Cheese sauce): stir 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated or crumbled cheese into 2 cups of hot béchamel until it is completely melted. Do not boil or the sauce may become stringy. Good cheeses to try are Parmesan, Swiss, cheddar, or blue cheese. Use a good quality cheese or your sauce may be bland. Use for vegetable gratins, macaroni and cheese, eggs and hors d'oeuvres.
* Sauce Soubise (Creamy onion sauce): slowly sauté about 1 pound of sliced white onions in some butter until they wilt completely. Do not allow them to brown. Add 2 cups of béchamel, cover and simmer slowly about 20-30 minutes. Puree, strain through a sieve and serve. Goes well with fish and poultry. An essential component of veal Orloff.
* À la King: an American invention, it's great for leftovers. Just add about 2 cups of chicken, ham, dried chipped beef, peas, mushrooms, etc., to every cup of béchamel. Simmer together and serve over toast or puff pastry shells.
* Béchamel is ideal for creating vegetable gratins. Simply blanch or slowly sauté some vegetables until they are partially cooked. Spread them in a shallow baking dish. Spread a layer of béchamel over the top and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Place in a 375°F oven and cook until browned on the top.
* Add some chopped ham, chopped parsley, some chopped carrots as optional seasonings if you like.
* A little squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of white wine added at the end can brighten this sauce considerably.

Thicker white sauce recipes, and sauce recipes using white sauce as a base. Here too.

I haven't tried this recipe, but here is a low fat version.

2 comments:

Soutenus said...

OK, so I love this! Thank you for posting this.

Aussie Therese said...

I love Bechamel sauce. I never really understood someone buying it in a jar. It is so easy to make. I think we are going to try the A la King.