Making a béchamel sauce is easy, and a useful skill to have as it is used in so may dishes – lasagne, seafood mornay and cauliflower cheese to name a few. During the winter months I became addicted to Fennel au Gratin, which is blanched fennel baked with a cheese sauce – delicious!  

This is a recipe for a basic thick béchamel sauce. To make a medium béchamel sauce, reduce the quantity of butter and flour to 40g. The recipe can easily be multiplied for greater quantities.

Ingredients:
50g butter
50g flour
500ml milk, warmed
Salt
White pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Method:
Firstly you need to make a roux, which is a paste of butter and flour. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes or until you have a smooth golden paste (the “roux”), stirring constantly. Gradually add the warm milk, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring continually, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, white pepper and nutmeg if desired.

To make a cheese sauce, add 150g grated cheddar or gruyere cheese and stir until melted.

fennel au gratin made using a bechamel sauce
fennel au gratin made using a bechamel sauce

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2 Comments

  1. This is my favorite sauce. Tastes great over vegies with dinner and is super fast and easy to make!

  2. Agreed Olenka, it is a very versatile sauce & not at all difficult to make – you just need to keep stirring!

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