Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Basic White Sauce

2 tbls butter
2 tbls flour
1 cup warm milk
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Once it is melted add the flour and stir constantly for 4-5 minutes. Slowly add warm milk, still stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer and let cook till thickened, about 5 minutes, still stirring constantly. Add salt/pepper to taste.


So this is another one that was originally going to go in as part of a different recipe but I decided to post on it's own. White sauce rules. It is good on pasta, on a sandwich, as the liquid in casseroles, as the base of cream of whatever soup and really anything else you can think of. This recipe right here is the most basic, it's really more of a blank canvas than anything else. If you make it just like this it is medium consistency, good for pasta. If you add one more tablespoon each of butter and flour then it is really thick and good for casseroles, one tablespoon less each (or more milk) and it is a base for soup. Then we get into what you put in for flavor. That's the really fun part. But first, lets make the sauce.

Take a sauce pan (for sauce, you see) and melt two tablespoons of butter in it. Once that is melted add the flour and start stirring immediately. I know, I'm not stirring right here, but I can't stir, add flour and take pictures at the same time. These are the sacrifices I make for you folks. Heh.Now, you will not stop stirring this until it is done. This is the tricky part and it made for interesting picture taking, let me tell you. What you have here is called a roux and it is the basis of some really good stuff. You want to cook it for four or five minutes, but you don't want it to brown. This will get rid of the raw flour taste. Now slowly pour in the milk, stirring the whole time. The milk should be warm or even hot, but if you heat it up make sure it doesn't scald. Being warm helps prevent lumps. Lumps in white sauce are gross. Now stir it till it is thick. This will take about five minutes or so. Once it's thick season it however you like and pour it over something. It's some good stuff. To keep it from forming a skin on top place some wax paper or plastic wrap right on top of it or float a little milk on top, just enough to cover it.

Now that you have a basic white sauce you'll probably want to gussy it up. Here are a couple things you can add: some minced onion, a pinch each of clove and nutmeg and simmer a bay leaf with the milk for a standard bechamel; 1 tsp of minced garlic while you are cooking the roux; some Dijon mustard; cumin and green chilies for enchiladas; oregano, Parmesan, basil and nutmeg for a very Italian sauce; cheddar and green onions for burgers or to put on chili; make it really thick, add some cheese, onion, garlic, sour cream and use it as a hot dip. Pretty much anything, it's a great sauce that you can do all kinds of stuff with. You don't need to use milk either, you can use broth or wine too. So fiddle around with it, have a good time.


Gina Kadlec said...

Don't forget the nutmeg! :)

Bob said...

Hey, I mentioned nutmeg! Heh. I just wanted to do the most basic sauce and then people can do whatever they want with it. Although I admit it, I totally forgot it in the sauce I made for the calzones. I had meant to put some in, but it got kind of frantic by the time I got to the sauce last night and I just flaked. But I did a lot of cooking yesterday, so that's my excuse. :)

The Brutal Gourmet said...

Foundations are priceless.


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