cheese sauce

all you need to transform and ordinary dish into something extra special

A cheese sauce recipe that can transform a simple dish into a creamy delight! How often have you wished for something tasty to go with a plain vegetable dish or chicken or fish dish, well, try this sauce recipe with them, just as they do in France!

It is really what the French call a sauce mornay and is so delicious, it is a recipe you will want to save in your kitchen for many years to come.

It is very much like the French bechamel sauce, the basic white sauce which you need for the basis of many dishes.

In France of course they use a good French cheese such as Gruyere but you can use any good hard cheese such as a parmesan or indeed a good swiss cheese, whatever you like or have in your pantry. You can even use half and half of any cheese you have, so never wasting any!

Of course we are talking about hard cheeses, not the soft variety which are not suitable for this sauce.

A blue cheese is also good for this recipe and the sauce is just sheer heaven - that is if you like blue cheese - it is one of those tastes you either love or hate.

It is also a great accompaniment for any of your favourite pasta dishes, just try pouring some over a dish of warm pasta with a sprinkling of black pepper, it's very satisfying.



Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1¼ oz butter
  • 1 oz plain (all purpose) flour
  • ½ - ¾ pint boiling liquid – this may be all milk, part milk and vegetable liquid or white stock. If it is to be a coating sauce, use smaller amounts of liquid, if a medium sauce use a larger amount.
  • 4oz (100g) grated hard cheese such as parmesan or a mixture of hard cheeses.
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of white pepper

Method

  • Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat.
  •  Add the flour and stir with a small balloon whisk.
  •  Cook for a few minutes without it colouring (this is called the roux).
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add all the liquid at once, whisking continually until well blended. (A balloon whisk is ideal for this purpose and you never get any lumps!)
  • Bring to the boil then immediately simmer over low heat for at least five minutes.
  • Gradually sprinkle in your grated cheese and mix thoroughly.
  • Add a little grated nutmeg and white pepper to taste.

Do not allow the sauce to boil once the cheese has been added as this will affect the creaminess and it may result in a hard mess!


You can serve this cheese sauce recipe with poached chicken or fish, cooked vegetables or you can mix it with cooked vegetables and put them into an oven dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake in the oven – this is how you make a gratin!

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