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Sauce Bechamel (White Sauce)

This is the single most important sauce in the whole of French cooking and is reputed to have been introduced into the national cooking repertoire during the reign of Louis XIV. It is used as a base for mushroom, cheese, tomato and many other sauces.

ingredients

about 450 ml (15 fl oz) 2 cups
450 ml (15 fl oz) 2 cups Milk
1 Bay leaf
6 Peppercorns
1 Pinch of grated nutmeg Mace blade
33 g (1 1/4 oz) 2 1/2 Tbs Butter
25 g (1 oz) 4 Tbs Flour
Salt and pepper to taste

method

1. Put the milk and flavourings into a saucepan and heat for 10 minutes, or until warm; do not let the milk come to the boil. Strain into a small bowl and set aside to cool.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour to form a smooth paste. Gradually stir in the strained milk and return to the heat. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, or until it has thickened and is smooth.

3. The sauce is now ready to use.

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