Béchamel

Béchamel is one of the five mother sauces of French cuisine.  I will write and experiment with each of them.  I am giving myself no time limit though so don’t hold your breath.  There is the Béchamel, Velouté, Espagnole (also known as Brown Sauce), Hollandaise, and Classic Tomato Sauce.

Béchamel

I always make my macaroni and cheese with a Béchamel sauce.  It is so creamy in the middle. The bread/cheese topping is broiled at the end which makes a crunch of goodness.  It is a constant dish with Grits and Honey.

The first time I made Béchamel Sauce, I got a whiff of this wonderful smell as the milk, butter and flour where simmering.  I had to stick my head in the pot.  I wondered, where have I smelled this before??  It was like a wonderful memory from my childhood was dancing up my nose to my brain.  I stuck my head in there again.  What was the memory?  I made this sauce probably 10 more times before it came to me.  My Grandfather, Pawpaw as we called him, was a wonderful southern cook.  He would have my parents, brother and me over for breakfast and he would always have biscuits and gravy.  It was the smell of the gravy that I remembered.  My Grandfather had no idea he was cooking a “mother sauce of french cuisine”  In fact, I hope he isn’t rolling over in his grave.  It is the melted butter, flour, and warm milk.  The smell of Béchamel means many things to me- comfort, safety, warmth, love…  No wonder my macaroni and cheese sells.  That is a lot of ingredients!  And that is exactly why I cook.

I am sitting in bed with Gabby after a long day of work and then I came home to make my macaroni and cheese for 80 people.  I am exhausted but so fulfilled because I love what I do.  All those feelings are in me when I smell the béchamel cooking.  That is what I love to share but sometimes make excuses as to why I am not sharing it.  Hmmm.

Place a stick of butter in a medium to large saucepan and melt it.  Add 6 tablespoons flour and cook, bubbling,  for 3-4 minutes and stir to keep it from sticking  Slowly add 5 cups of vitamin D milk.  Stir constantly and bring to a slow simmer.  Once simmering cook for 5 minutes but don’t let the milk scald (burn) or the sauce is ruined.  Lastly, stick your head in there and smell what memories you can stir up.

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Originally posted at Grits and Honey.

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