Talking to my friends, many are terrified by the basic "White Sauce", which can be used in a variety of recipes, it really is that versatile. Crack it, and you're repertoire may include Parsley Sauce, Fish Pie, Chicken Supreme, Lasagne etc. Most would rather use a jar or packet on the basis that they won't get a lumpy, tasteless gloop, but really, it's not that difficult.
The key to a good White Sauce, or Béchamel if you want to be posh, is patience, however it doesn't take that long to make.
Follow this step by step guide to creating the perfect base for bigger things....
I have not included a list of quantities, as the amount depends upon how much sauce you want to make, and how thick you want it. The ingredients that you will need are:
Salt & pepper to season
The nature of the ingredients means that sometimes you will need more milk than the last time. Or you might need less. I work on the principle of 2 parts flour to 1 part butter. It works for me.
On this occasion, I used a dessert spoon of butter.
I also added my seasoning and some grated nutmeg, as I was making this sauce for a lasagne.
"Cook" for 3-4 minutes or so; this should stop the sauce tasting of flour.
Add a small, and I mean small, dash of milk, and stir. The heated flour/butter mix means it will become a congealed blob. This is good.
Don't add too much milk at this stage; you can add it later, if your sauce is too thick.
Remove from the heat and keep stirring; the sauce will continue to thicken, which is why you take it off before you get there.
If your sauce is too thick, slowly add more milk until you get the consistency that you want.
Once you've made the sauce, you can add your flavours, be it parsley, cheese, tarragon. And there you have it!