Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mornay Sauce

I've learned a lot of things in the last few months making some of these recipes. One thing I haven't quite figured out yet was how to remember to take pictures. For that, I apologize. This wouldn't have had the most exciting pictures, but pictures are pictures.

I made this sauce as the base for macaroni gratin. It almost never made it that far, because it was really, really good. The ingredient list is kind of long, but it's mostly household items:
  • Butter
  • Onion
  • Flour
  • Milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Bay leaf
  • Peppercorns
  • Cloves (not a household item in my household, so I left it out)
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Comte cheese
The sauce took less than an hour to put together, and a good portion of that was inactive time, so it's even easier than it seems. I started by melting the butter over medium-low heat, then added the onions and some salt until they started to soften a little. In went the flour to form a onion-roux, and I let that cook for a few minutes, watching carefully all the while so that the flour didn't brown at all. I added the milk and cream, whisking until it all came together. That came to a simmer and I put in the bay leaf and peppercorns. I lowered the heat just a bit so that it the sauce was barely simmering and cooked it for about half and hour. It immediately smelled great, and after the 30 minutes the entire house was filled with the smell of cream, onions, and spices. That might not sound great, but it is.

I took the thickened sauce off the heat and mixed in the salt, nutmeg, and pepper. I didn't have any white pepper, which the recipe called for, so anyone that wants to enjoy my macaroni and cheese is just going to have to deal with little black flecks mixed in. Deal with it.

I strained the sauce to remove any impurities (these includes bay leaves or peppercorns that may have found their way in) and mixed in the cheese until it was all nice and melted. That's the end of the sauce making. It was at this point that I strongly considered just skipping the macaroni gratin and sitting down with the pot of sauce and a soup spoon. I decided that probably wouldn't be too great for my heart, put the sauce in an airtight container with plastic warp pushed down on the surface to prevent any film from forming, and into the refrigerator it went. Macaroni and cheese was on the menu for the next night.

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