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How to Make Bechamel Sauce

June 11, 2012 Le Cordon Bleu Las Vegas 0 Comments

How to Make Bechamel Sauce

There are plenty of graduates of cooking schools in Las Vegas, each with a grasp of most of the basic cooking methods and techniques. One thing that can set you apart from them is mastering sauces. The fine dining scene in Las Vegas revolves around many French cooking techniques, with sauces being some of the most important. We are going to take a look at how to make one of the most common and easiest, béchamel.

There are five mother sauces of French cuisine and béchamel is one of the most versatile. It is a milk-based sauce that is thickened with a flour and butter roux and gently seasoned with salt and nutmeg. It’s the base of cheese sauces, cream soups, creamy pasta dishes, and many sweet dessert sauces. Its delicate flavor makes it excellent for vegetable, chicken, and fish dishes.

Teaching It in Culinary School Doesn’t Always Make it Popular

Unfortunately, béchamel is not as common in today’s professional kitchens as it once was. The desire to eat lighter has marginalized this delicious but high calorie sauce. There are certain dishes, however, that just wouldn’t be the same without it, many of which are taught in culinary school and cooked in professional kitchens of Las Vegas. They include:

  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Macaroni and Cheese (not from a box)
  • Moussaka
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Lasagna
  • Croque Monsieur
  • Lobster Newburg

Basic Bechamel Sauce Recipe

This basic béchamel recipe can be made in 15 minutes and used right away. You can also make it the day before.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • a pinch of white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Optional ingredients may include substituting a portion of the milk with stock, usually fish or chicken. Herbs like bay leaf and thyme can be added while cooking, but they should be strained from the sauce before serving.

Preparation:

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat
  • Add flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth and completely free of lumps
  • Continue to cook over medium heat until the mixture turns a light brown, about 5 to 6 minutes
  • In a separate saucepan, heat the milk to a simmer over medium heat
  • Add the milk to the butter mixture and whisk. Add it one cup at a time to ensure a smooth consistency
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 10 minutes, stirring constantly
  • Remove from heat season with salt and nutmeg, stir, and set aside until ready to use

With sauce this good and this easy to make, you can make all of your dishes taste like you went to culinary school even if you haven’t.  And if you have…the competition had better watch out.

 This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Las Vegas offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Las Vegas, Nevada. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Las-Vegas for more information. 

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures.  
Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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