Béchamel Sauce

April 8, 2007 0 Comments

Béchamel Sauce

Thicken Texture

I received this email from Danielle asking how to thicken her soups to duplicate a “can soup” texture. Here is what she said:

“I have recently been into making home made soups, the cooler weather I’m sure being a factor.  I’ve been experimenting with trying to thicken my soup.  I get it creamy by using a thickening agent like cornstarch, but I really enjoy a thick and heavy cream of mushroom or spinach soup.  Is there some way I can achieve that “can” soup texture, without the can? Thanks for your help.”  Danielle

I sent this question to Chef Ricco as part of my Ask A Chef feature and here’s what he told me:

“She wants to know if she can get the same texture as in a can of cream of mushroom soup. This is easy. A basic Béchamel Sauce will work. But if she doesn’t want all that dairy, she can puree boiled potatoes and add it to the soup. Believe it or not, cooked cauliflower can be pureed and used also. ”

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Béchamel Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

Béchamel Sauce

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sweet unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-cup milk

Salt & pepper to taste

Freshly grated or ground nutmeg to taste

Optional Ingredients

1 bay leaf

3 - 4 drops of Tabasco sauce

whole peppercorns

chopped shallots

1 stalk of celery

How To Prepare At Home

Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, stir until smooth and cook for five minutes but be careful not to let the flour brown. You want the flour to end up a light, golden color.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, add the milk and bring it to a boil. As soon as the milk comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour it into the butter flour mixture and start whisking. This mixture will soon come to a boil and start bubbling. That's ok, just be sure to keep whisking so the sauce doesn't burn and the sauce stays smooth. The bubbling will stop but the sauce will continue to boil.

Keep cooking and whisking the sauce for 8 to 10 minutes until it thickens to the desired consistency. You may want to turn down the heat if it feels like it is cooking too fast. At this point, remove the saucepan from the heat and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. You should end up with a creamy, smooth sauce.

It is now ready for your soup. However, if you are making béchamel for a sauce and need to keep it warm, just pour it into a small container, cover the surface with plastic wrap and place it in a water bath to keep warm until you are ready to use. Be sure to give it a good whisk before using.

Last modified on Mon 14 July 2014 10:10 am

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