- 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 slice onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 whole peppercorns
- 1 dash mace
- 1 tbs butter
- 1 and 1/2 tbs flour
- kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
This is a sauce that in culinary circles is referred to as a mother sauce, meaning that you can use this sauce as a base for making other sauces. We are going to give you the recipe for the basic sauce as well as several variations. Once you master the basic sauce, your cooking will be elevated to new levels.
- Pour the milk into a sauce pan. Add the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, and mace.
- Bring to a scalding point, remove from heat and cover.
- Let infuse for 30 minutes.
- Strain through a wire mesh strainer.
- To make the roux, melt the butter in a sauce pan. Stir in the flour and let cook for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly.
- Season lightly with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Return to the heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens and is smooth.. About 3 minutes.
- Mornay Sauce: (cheese): Off the heat stir in 1/2 cup of of shredded sharp cheddar, or gruyere cheese (or any good melting cheese of your choice) and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and an pinch of mustard powder (we like Colman’s English Mustard Powder).
- Parsley Sauce: Add to 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley.
- Onion (soubise) Sauce: Mince 1 onion, then saute in a little butter until softened. About 10 minutes. Stir into the bechamel, then puree in a blender of food processor.
- Mushroom Sauce: Thinly slice mushrooms, sweat gently in a little butter until tender. Stir into the Bechamel.