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Catholic Recipe: Béchamel Sauce


  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 cups hot milk (optional)


Prep Time: 1 hour

Difficulty: • • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:15+

Origin: France


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Often Made With (1)


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Feasts (1)

Also Called: Bechamel Sauce

The Béchamel Sauce is one of the four basic French sauces from which all other sauces derive. It is a smooth, white sauce made from finely chopped vegetables and herbs which are infused in milk and thickened with a roux made with flour, boiled milk, and butter. It is usually served with white meats, eggs, and vegetables. It forms the basis of many other sauces.

This sauce can be used with the traditional French dish: shrimp in a lovely Béchamel sauce. In Quimper, which is a town in northwestern France in the area known as Brittany, this is a specialty for the feast of the Assumption.


Melt the butter, add the onion, and cook until soft but not brown. Add the flour, mix thoroughly, and cook, stirring all the while, until the flour begins to turn golden. Add the milk, a cup at a time, stirring constantly. Add salt, peppercorns, parsley, and nutmeg (if desired). Cook for about twenty minutes, or until the consistency of heavy cream. Strain through a fine sieve.

Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951