It is simple, it is rich and, even if it has a little homework, It is one of the great sauces of world cuisine. We can call it bechamel or besamel but the reality is that this mixture of flour, milk and butter is an essential in our kitchens.
Essential for croquettes but also for many gratins and other recipes that need their competition, either as a main sauce or as a mother sauce, the bechamel is as versatile as it is tasty, also receiving spices to give it a new game or being the base of a villeroy or mornay sauce.
Humble, capable of surprising also celiacs and gluten intolerant -we can make it with corn flour or rice- or for vegans -we can substitute milk for a vegetable drink and butter for margarine-, béchamel is one of those solids pillars that we must know in the kitchen.
Therefore, in this monograph, today we will tell you how to make the final recipeWe will tell you a little about its history and we will give you a few options so that you can get as much gastronomic as possible.
A dose of history
Despite its humble ingredients, the bechamel was born in the palatial kitchens of the French Marqués de Uxelles, whose chef was François Pierre de La Varenne (author of the cookbook Le Cuisinier françois, which marks the step between medieval and modern).
According to historiography, La Varenne created her béchamel from old Italian recipes with creams and creams, although she also found in this roux with milk a way to give more creaminess to the napados than with the previous formulas based on almonds or bread that were used to carry out.
Thus, La Varenne, decided to baptize that new sauce with the name of béchamelle in honor of Louis de Béchameil (Marquis de Nointel), noble friend of the Marquis de Uxelles, the latter also having a place in the History of gastronomy, also thanks to La Varenne, for the duxelle, that farce based on mushrooms, onions and shallots sautéed with butter, which, for example, is part of Sirloin Wellington.
The definitive recipe for bechamel sauce
Light, lump-free and very, very easy. Lose your fear of this sauce and put some flour, butter and milk on the counter to have a silky, smooth béchamel that you can use in countless dishes.
The only thing that you will have to vary slightly will be the quantities depending on the dish you choose, since some croquettes require a somewhat denser bechamel, while a gratin or some cannelloni ask for a more melting béchamel.
To make bechamel sauce, we start by putting a pan on the fire and adding 50 g of butter. As soon as it melts, we add the same amount of flour and stir forming a roux or a paste. If we are going to want a thinner or thicker bechamel, we can alter this proportion a bit, although I usually always keep it, and what I play with is the amount of milk and the cooking / evaporation time.
Once the flour and butter are well mixed, we add the milk while stirring. It’s time to change the wooden spoon for the rods and thus we will prevent lumps from forming. Key: add the milk little by little, so that there are no changes in temperature.
You can get better results if you have the milk very hot in a saucepan and you add scoop by scoop, without adding more milk until the previous milk has been absorbed by the dough. And yes, always stirring without stopping, making circular movements or drawing eights in the pan, so that the bechamel sauce is always in motion.
When you have added all the milk, it is time to taste and add salt and the classic touch of nutmeg, so characteristic of bechamel. If you want a thicker bechamel, spend more time and let the liquid evaporate little by little while the pan fills with bubbles.
The creaminess of the bechamel, the flavor of the eggplant and the spicy point of the minced meat make this dish a high-flying main.
Strong and satiating, it is perfect for us to accompany it with a soft salad first and enjoy this greek lasagna.
- Ingredients for 6 people: 2 aubergines, 400g of minced meat, 1 onion, 1 carrot, 3 tomatoes, half a glass of red wine, half a glass of meat broth, dried thyme to taste, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and bechamel sauce.
- Elaboration: Cut the aubergines into slices and put them with a little salt on absorbent paper to collect the water they release and thus the aubergines will not have a bitter aftertaste. Then we lightly fry them and reserve them. On the other hand, we chop the onion and carrot in brunoise and poach them in a pan. When they are soft, add the very chopped tomatoes and let them cook in the pan until they have a good sauce or sauce for the meat. Lightly fry the minced meat in a pan, add it to the tomato and vegetable sauce and add the thyme, wine and broth, letting it cook for about ten minutes until no trace of liquid remains. On the layer of meat we put another layer of aubergine slices and we cover again with the lamb meat with the sauce, squashing a little with the back of the spoon so that it is well compact. Finally we cover with béchamel sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese and put the dish in the oven where we bake for 20 minutes at 160º and gratin 3 minutes at 220º.
Link to the recipe | Greek musaka
Broccoli with bacon and bechamel
Sometimes getting the little ones in the house to fall for the vegetables is tricky. In this case, a good béchamel and a pinch of bacon are the ties with which to catch them in the table.
The freshness of broccoli, the point of the gratin and the unctuousness of the béchamel they make sure that this dish becomes a basic for your oven.
- Ingredients for 3 people: 500g of broccoli, 100g of sliced bacon, 25g of butter, 25g of wheat flour, 500ml of milk, 100g of grated cheese, salt and ground white pepper.
- Elaboration: We separate the broccoli florets from the stem and cut them into pieces of similar size. We reserve the stem for another elaboration. We place them on a steamer and steam for 15-20 minutes or until slightly below doneness. We cut the bacon and sauté in a very hot pan for a couple of minutes. We booked both. We prepare the bechamel sauce and cover the base of a baking dish with a layer of bechamel and, on top of it, we place a layer of broccoli, another of bacon and another of grated cheese. We cover with a little bechamel and repeat the layers. We water with the rest of the béchamel sauce, sprinkle with more grated cheese and a few cubes of butter (optional). Bake at 200ºC for 20 minutes or until it begins to brown on the surface. We serve very hot.
Link to the recipe | Broccoli with bacon and bechamel
Eggs With Bechamel
An almost infallible pair. Dense, powerful and very tasty, of those that ask for a nap but of those that comfort you and reconnect with the kitchen.
A dish that smells of the oven and home heat and that many of us remind us of mothers and grandmothers, which we imagine with the rod in hand giving the bechamel.
- Ingredients for 2 people: 3 eggs, 400ml of whole milk, 20g of butter, 20g of wheat flour, 100g of bacon, grated cheese for gratin, salt, ground black pepper and ground nutmeg.
- Elaboration: We heat the oven to 180º C with heat up and down without air. Cook the eggs for 10 minutes in salted water, peel them and reserve while we make the bechamel. When we have it ready, pour a little béchamel into the bottom of a baking dish. On top we place the eggs split in half and the chopped bacon. We water with the rest of the béchamel sauce, sprinkle with cheese and bake for 30 minutes. We serve immediately with a salad, for example.
Link to the recipe | Eggs With Bechamel
One of the most popular sandwiches and forceful of the world and a perfect representative of French cuisine.
Sliced bread, béchamel, cooked ham and a good cheese. Can you ask for more from life?
- Ingredients for 2 people: 4 slices of sliced bread, 4 slices of cooked ham, 50g of grated cheese, 4 slices of Emmental or Gruyère cheese, 200ml of milk, 15g of wheat flour, 10g of butter, salt and black pepper.
- Elaboration:For this sandwich we need a thick béchamel sauce, so we start with that. Heat the butter in a pan and add the flour. We stir a couple of minutes to cook slightly and add the milk. We will do it little by little while stirring so that there are no lumps. When there is no more milk to add, add salt and pepper to taste and cook over low heat for ten minutes. Spread all the slices of bread with a generous layer of béchamel. On two of them we spread two slices of ham and two of cheese. Place the other two slices of bread on top, with the bechamel layer facing down (that is in contact with the cheese). Finally, we cover each sandwich with another layer of bechamel and sprinkle with plenty of grated cheese. Gratin for ten minutes or until the top is golden brown. We serve immediately.
Link to the recipe | Croque-monsieur
Salmon en croûte
The oven and the béchamel get along wonderfully and not only when it comes to gratins. In this case, We resort to a fish and a dough to claim a French sea preparation: salmon en croûte.
You can make the puff pastry yourself or you can buy a couple of sheets at the supermarket. You bet on what you bet, this plate will fly off the table in a matter of minutes.
- Ingredients for 6 people: 500g of fresh salmon fillets, 2 sheets of puff pastry, 400g of frozen spinach, 200g of onion, 500g of thick bechamel, 1 egg, extra virgin olive oil, salt and ground black pepper.
- Elaboration:Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to a boil, submerge the frozen spinach and cook until ready according to the time indicated on the package. We drain well. Peel the onion and cut it into fine brunoise. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry it over a very low heat, …