This recipe is for two cups of sauce. Multiply or divide by the number of cups of sauce you need.
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cup milk
two pinches of nutmeg, salt, and pepper
Place the butter in a medium sized saucepan on low medium heat and warm gently until it has melted. Measure in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. This mixture is called roux.
Cook the roux for two minutes, stirring with your spoon. The roux should be bubbling and releasing steam.
Now begin adding the milk, tablespoon by tablespoon. Completely incorporate each tablespoon of milk before you add more. After you've added about 1/4 of the milk, you can add more at a time. This is just a way of making sure that you don't get lumps in your sauce.
Add all of the milk and cook, stirring occasionally. You can use a whisk to smooth the sauce, but a wooden spoon may be all you need.
Heat the sauce just to below the boiling point. This should take approximately 10 minutes since the time you started adding the milk and the sauce should be quite thick.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the seasoning until completely combined.
Allow the sauce to cool somewhat before using in another recipe or refrigerating/freezing for future use.
Makes 2 cups.
Sauce Normande: Stir in 2 tablespoons heavy cream along with the seasonings.
Sauce Aurore: Stir in 1 tablespoon concentrated tomato paste.
Sauce Poulette: Immediately after removing from the heat, stir the sauce slowly into two egg yolks. This might be used as the basis for making a souffle.
Sauce Moutarde: Proceed as for the sauce poulette, pouring the hot sauce over two egg yolks. Then stir in two teaspoons French style mustard, chopped parsley, and a little lemon juice.