3 bay leaves
1 clove (optional)
25g margarine or butter
25g plain flour
Prep to Cook: Sauce pan, wooden spoon, chopping board, vegetable knife, measuring jug.
Prep: Prepare the vegetables:
Peel and slice carrot baton.
Cut stick of celery
Peel and slice a portion of onion.
Measure peppercorns, bay leaves and clove.
Place these ingredients and the milk into a pan.
Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat.
Allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
Strain the milk and discard the flavourings.
Proceed as for a roux sauce:
Melt butter and stir in flour. Cook the roux lightly.
Gradually stir in the flavoured milk a little at a time.
Beat well to avoid any lumps forming.
Bring to the boil and season to taste.
Béchamel sauce is infused to create flavour. It can be thickened as a coating sauce or a pouring sauce.
Cooks Know How: The skill in this sauce is to flavour the milk before you make the sauce. Use classic flavouring ingredients of carrot, onion, celery and bay leaves, peppercorns and a clove. Infusing transfers the flavours to the milk and some evaporation occurs during this process. Allow time for the infusion. Make the sauce with a roux of butter and flour. Keep beating in the milk for a smooth and glossy sauce.
Bring the sauce to the boil to ensure gelatinisation is complete and the sauce does not taste raw.
Infusions can be varied depending on the end use of the sauce. Stalks of thyme, mushroom slices or similar.