Bechamel Sauce

by Katie of:

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. all purpose flour
3. whole milk
1 slice onion
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 t. kosher salt
dash of white pepper

First be completely prepared so you won't have to take your eyes off your pot!  You will need one 1/2 thick slice of an onion about 1/2 inch thick.  Take the bay leaf and stick it to the onion by piercing it with the cloves right to the onion.  Measure out your milk and have it very close as well.  Over medium heat, whisk butter and flour together (It helps to dice the butter smaller first).  Stir constantly with whisk and do not let butter brown.  Turn heat down to medium low and cook your roux for about 2 minutes stirring frequently.  You want your roux to stay fairly light in color.  Do not over brown! When you sense it is very thick but still "Blonde" in color, slowly pour in you milk and keep whisking. Cook about minutes until you can dip a spoon into the sauce and run your finger along the back of the spoon and it will leave a line. Add in salt, pepper and grated nutmeg.    Remove your sauce from the heat and strain through a fine sieve.  Will keep in the refrigerator for one week.  To reheat, simmer a small amount of milk on the stove (1 cup) and add bechamel to it stirring constantly. 

Cheese Sauce:  Stir in 1 cup cheddar cheese and 1 t. dry mustard and 2 T. worchestershire to make cheese sauce 
Cream Sauce:  Substitute 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream for the milk
Aflredo Sauce:  Use all heavy whipping cream instead of milk, add 1/2 t. garlic powder and 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese.
Mustard Sauce: Stir in 2 T. dijon mustard, remove from heat, swirl in another 2 T. butter until glossy.