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How to Make Basic Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel sauce and its variations go with all kinds of foods, including poached and grilled fish, chicken, veal, and vegetables. The thickness of béchamel sauce varies from dish to dish. Create a basic béchamel that you can fancy-up however you like:

  1. Heat 1-1/4 cups milk over medium heat in a small saucepan until almost boiling.

    If the milk is hot when you add it to the butter and flour, there’s less chance that the béchamel will be lumpy.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat

    Don’t let the butter darken or burn.

  3. Add 2 tablespoons flour to the butter and whisk constantly for two minutes.

    You’re cooking the loose paste, or roux, made from the butter and flour. The roux should reach a thick paste consistency.

  4. Gradually add the hot milk while continuing to whisk the mixture vigorously.

    Keep whisking until the sauce is blended smooth.

  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for three to four minutes, whisking frequently.

    The béchamel should have the consistency of a very thick sauce.

  6. Remove the sauce from the heat.

    Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste, and whisk well.

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