Saturday, 30 May 2009

When to much cheese just ins't enough

I had always made my cheesy bechemal fairly randomly and although it always tasted good, it was always a bit of a hassle because of the constant stirring and anxiety about getting it right. Tim must have witnessed this and finally gave me a recipe for Bechemal sauce. Although he gave me the recipe several YEARS ago, it has taken me until last week to actually try it, however, I'm completely sold! It's quick, easy, reliable, makes a huge quantity and you can freeze it. Yep, that right, make a massive amount, freeze it in plastic containers and anytime you want a hit of cheesy goodness, it's yours for the defrosting! Let me let you in on the secret (and let me write the recipe somewhere less likely to be lost than my 2006 diary!).

~120g butter
~120g plain flour
1 litre milk
150 g grated tasty cheese
An onion - optional

Make a roux - in a large heavy based saucepan melt the butter, add the flour and cook it on medium heat, stirring it frequently, until it resembles wet sand.

While you are poking your roux, put the litre of milk in a saucepan with plenty of pepper (and the onion if you want. Personally, I'm not a fan of the onion, I think it gives the whole thing an odd taste) let it come to the boil.

Pour the milk, through a strainer to catch the peppercorns/onion, into the roux and, whisking it enthusiastically, turn up the heat until it boils.

Season with plenty of salt and more pepper (white pepper, finely ground, at this point is preferred so you don't have black specks of pepper in the final product). I like to add a dash of nice vinegar at this point.

If you have lumps use your stick blender to eradicate them, otherwise just add the cheese.

Taste it - you may need to add more salt. I ended up adding a lot more cheese - probably because I had cheated and was attempting to use pre-grated cheese which actually has starches in it to stop it glomping together and therefore has less flavour. On the other hand, maybe it's just because I like a very cheesy sauce rather than a traditional bechemal.

Pour it onto your dinner and/or into plastic take-away containers to put in your freezer for a wet Sunday.