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Classic Bechamel Sauce

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Ingredients
  Milk 1⁄2 Pint (300 Milliliter, Plus Any Extra Required)
  Onion 1 Small
  Bay leaf 1
  Butter/Margarine / low fat spread 1 Ounce (25 Gram)
  Flour 1 Ounce (25 Gram)
  Salt To Taste
  Freshly ground black pepper/Freshly ground white pepper To Taste
Directions

Pour the milk into a saucepan.
Peel the onion, chop the celery and add to the milk, with the bay leaf.
Bring the milk just to boiling point, remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
Strain and measure the milk.
If necessary add more, to give 300 ml/1/2 pint again.
Heat the butter or margarine in the pan, stir in the flour, then blend in the milk.
This can be done very slowly stirring all the time, but you can pour in all the milk, bring the sauce to the boil and whisk vigorously to produce a smooth sauce.
Add seasoning to taste.
Thinner consistency: The produces the standard coating consistency, but today's sauces are usually thinner.
You can use slightly more milk or add a little single cream for richness.
Alternatively, whisk in a small amount of fromage frais or yogurt at the end of the cooking time.
Using vegetable, meat or fish stocks: When the sauce is to be served with any of these foods, it is a good idea to use some of the stock in which the vegetables have been cooked, instead of using all milk.
This gives a more interesting flavour.
Mornay sauce: This is a classic sauce based upon a Bechamel, not a white sauce.
White sauce: Omit the onion and celery and simply make the sauce with the 300 ml/1/2 pint milk.
Brown sauce: The method of making the sauce is similar to that above, but use a good brown stock instead of milk.
Blending method: Blend the flour and milk and add to the pan with the fat.
Stir or whisk until smooth and thickened.
Using low fat spread: This produces a less rich sauce and care must be taken that the mixture does not burn because of the lower fat content.

Recipe Summary

Cuisine: 
European
Course: 
Side Dish

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