Updated Nov 24, 2014Chatelaine
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan set over medium-low. Whisk in flour and continue whisking constantly until mixture turns into a paste (called a roux), about 2 min. Do not let it brown. Gradually add milk and continue to whisk constantly. Increase heat to medium and continue cooking until sauce thickens, 4 to 5 more min. Stir in salt and pepper. Use right away or pour into a jar, let cool and refrigerate up to 2 days.
To test the thickness of your sauce, coat the back of a wooden spoon with it and run your finger through the middle. If a clear path forms, the sauce is ready.
Switch It Up
Three variations to play with the flavour
Follow recipe. Stir in 1 cup grated swiss, gruyère or emmenthal with salt and pepper after sauce thickens. Remove from heat and whisk until melted. Add 1/8 tsp nutmeg.
Chipotle White Sauce
Follow recipe. Stir in 2 tbsp chopped chipotles in adobo sauce after sauce thickens.
Onion White Sauce (a.k.a. Soubise)
Cook 2 tbsp finely chopped onion in butter until soft. Add flour and continue with recipe, reducing milk to 1 1/4 cups.
Four Ways To Use It
Combine 2/3 cup each grated mozzarella and parmesan with 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbsp each fresh thyme leaves and bread crumbs. Reserve 1 cup. Layer 2 thinly sliced small fennel bulbs with cheese mixture. Top with 1 1/2 cups Creamy Béchamel. Sprinkle with reserved cheese mixture. Bake, covered, in a 375F oven for 30 min. Remove foil and continue baking until top turns golden, 10 to 15 more min.
Skillet Mac ’n’ Cheese
Combine 2 cups cooked macaroni with 1/2 cup cooked chopped bacon and 1 1/2 cups Mornay Sauce in a pie plate or cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup grated gruyère. Broil until top is golden, 2 to 3 min.
Sweet Potato Poutine
Bake frozen sweet potato fries in a 400F oven until crisp, about 15 min. Serve warm with cheese curds and Chipotle White Sauce. Sprinkle with finely sliced green onions.
Instant Pot Pie
Stir 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken with 1/2 cup frozen peas-and-carrots blend and 1 1/2 cups Onion White Sauce. Distribute among ramekins. Top each with a slice of buttered sandwich bread cut into a round. Bake in a 375F oven until golden brown, about 12 min.