Sauce Béchamel and Sauce Mornay

Sauce Mornay is Béchamel with the addition of cheese. Both are stand-bys in our repertoire, and may be used in many dishes such as lasagna, macaroni and cheese or cauliflower cheese. Mornay is also the base for many fish, shellfish, veal and chicken sauces. Béchamel is essential to macaroni, cauliflower, cannelloni, and lasagne.

This recipe enough sauce for four portions, using the norms of "restaurants that actually cook", and these sauces define kitchens that actually know how to cook.

Ingredients

15 ml (1 tablespoon or 1/8 stick) of butter

30 ml (2 tablespoons) of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of dry mustard (Coleman's)

300 ml (1 cup and a bit) of milk (1% works well)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

A dash or two of Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins)

170 grams (6 ounces) of well-aged white cheddar such as Balderston's 6 year old, sliced very thinly or grated

30 ml (2 tablespoons) of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
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Equipment

One heavy bottomed Windsor sauce-making pot

Wooden spatula

Medium size wire whisk

One rubber spatula (to not waste any of the sauce when it is poured from the Windsor pot)

(Note the pot must be heavy bottomed to ensure the roux [butter and flour] cooks properly without burning the butter. Also make sure the whisk does not have a heavy handle: if it does, and tumbles out of the pot you will have a messy clean up job.)

Accurate kitchen timer

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Time required

Both sauces can be made in less than 30 minutes.


Technique

Begin by making the Béchamel sauce:

Place the Windsor pot on a low flame and add the butter so that it will melt slowly

Place the milk in a two cup Pyrex measure and heat in the microwave; do not let boil

When the butter is melted and beginning to bubble slightly, add the flour and mustard and stir well with the whisk

Set your timer for three minutes and stir continuously. On no account must the butter be allowed to burn or discolour (if it does - start over)

Add a dash of pepper and salt

The roux will be cooked when you see it break into a fine crumb

Add a small amount of milk and whisk into the roux

Raise the heat a little and gradually whisk in the rest of the milk making sure it is absorbed into the developing sauce rather than inundating it

Add the Worcestershire sauce

When the sauce is smooth and coats the back of a spoon, you have created a Béchamel sauce

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Continue to turn Mornay into Béchamel:

Add the cheddar whisking continuously until it is absorbed into the sauce

Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary

Finish by whisking in the Parmigiano Reggiano

You can adjust the consistency of the sauce by adding a little milk if necessary