Monday, March 16, 2009

Making a white sauce (aka Bechamel sauce)

In approximately 15 minutes, you can have a smooth creamy white sauce prepared which will make your soups and souffles a thing of beauty! And it’s so easy to do. The directions are the same for any of the variations: you will simple add more or less butter and flour according to how thick you want your white sauce to be.

White Sauce basic directions:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
Blend the flour into the butter and add a pinch of salt if you wish.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes to lessen the floury taste.
Slowly add the milk a little bit at a time, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until thickened and smooth.

The variations:
Medium (or regular) white sauce - 2 T butter, 2 T flour, 1 c milk
Thin white sauce (best for delicate cream soups) - 1 T butter, 1 T flour, 1 c milk
Thick or heavy sauce (great for souffles) - 3-4 T butter, 3-4 T flour, 1 c milk

I like to start the process with a wooden spoon and end with a whisk. You’ll need to develop your favorite technique. It’s worth learning to do, because it makes a much nicer soup than simply throwing in cornstarch to thicken it.

Once you’ve mastered this, you can eliminate all the canned cream soups from your pantry, with their excessive sodium and unpronounceable ingredients! That’s right…every recipe you have that calls for canned soup can remain in your repertoire and get healthy by making a thick white sauce instead. There will be occasions when you just don’t have the time, but once your family learns how good those meals can taste, they’ll be helping you to find the time by setting the table making the salad so you’ll have those few extra minutes!

Image: istockphoto

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