by Eric Wharton
My Recipe Book, constantly being added to
I’ll do what I can to die a slow death ... all in the name of the sauce, of course.
— Emily Liebert, "You Knew Me When"
My mom just called this basic white sauce. For many years, that's what I thought it was. I had no idea it was French in origin with a fancy name. To me it will always remain just white sauce.
It is one of the mother sauces of French cuisine, made from a roux (butter and flour) and was mastered by the chief steward to King Louis XIV, first published in 1651. From this basic sauce, many other sauces can be made by adding additional ingredients: Mornay (cheese), Nantua (crayfish and cream), Mustard (mustard seed), Soubise (diced onions), Chedder cheese (cheddar cheese, dry mustard, Worcestershire sauce). The basic white sauce has lasted so long in various cuisines, not only because of its great taste, but also because it is so adaptable for other sauces.
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Then cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. This is called a roux.
Gradually stir in milk and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. 1 cup of milk makes a thinner sauce, back off to make it thicker.
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