Bechamel Sauce

A Rich White Foundation Sauce

Required: One pint of milk or equal parts of milk and white stock. Quarter of a pint of cream. Two ounces of butter One and a half ounces of flour. One small onion. Half a small carrot. A bunch of parsley and herbs. A bay leaf. Half a blade of mace. Six peppercorns. Salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Peel the onion and carrot, put them in a saucepan with the milk, herbs, and spice, and let all simmer gently for about a quarter of an hour, or until the milk is nicely flavoured.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in another pan, mix in the flour smoothly, and stir both over the fire for about five minutes, taking care not to let them brown in the least. When the milk is sufficiently flavoured, strain it, and stir gradually into the flour, etc., whisking it over the fire until it boils. Season carefully with salt, pepper, and a grain or two of nutmeg. Then pass it either through a hair sieve or a tammy cloth. Reheat carefully, add the cream, and it is ready for use.

N.B. - If the sauce is to be served with fish, use fish stock; if with meat or poultry, any white meat stock.

A Plain White Foundation Sauce

Required: One pint of milk or half milk and half white stock. Two ounces of butter. Two ounces of flour. Half a small onion. One bay leaf. A little lemon-juice. Salt and pepper.

Melt the butter gently in a saucepan, stir in the flour smoothly, and cook both for three or four minutes over a slow fire, taking care that they do not get in the least brown, then add the milk, and stir until it boils. Put in the onion and bay-leaf, and let the sauce simmer gently for ten minutes. Season it carefully, strain, and it is ready.

N.B. - If served with fish, use stock made from the bones and trimmings of the fish.

Caper Sauce

Required: One pint of liquor in which meat has been boiled. One ounce of flour. One ounce of butter. Two teaspoonfuls of caper vinegar. Two tablespoonfuls of capers. Salt and pepper.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour, and cook for a few minutes over a slow fire without letting it brown. Then pour in the hot liquor, and stir over the fire until it boils, then let it cook gently for five minutes. Cut the capers in halves, add them and the vinegar, with salt and pepper to taste.

N.B. - If the sauce is required for fish, use fish stock in place of meat liquor.

Bearnaise Sauce

Required: The yolks of three eggs. Three ounces of butter.

Quarter of a pint of Bechamel or white sauce. Four tablespoonfuls of tarragon vinegar. Three chopped shallots. Two tablespoonfuls of stock.

Put the vinegar into a small saucepan with the chopped shallots, and let them boil until only half the quantity of vinegar is left. Heat the white sauce carefully, and stir it into the vinegar. Beat up the yolks of the eggs with the stock, and strain them into the sauce and shallots, whisk over a gentle heat so as to cook the yolk, but be careful that the sauce does not actually boil, or it will curdle and be spoilt. Take the pan off the fire, and add the butter, a tiny piece at a time, whisking each in before another bit is added, until all is used. Season the sauce carefully, and pour it quickly through a strainer. Remember on no account must the sauce be re-heated after the butter is added, for if this be done the sauce will curdle.

Maitre D'hotel Sauce

Required: One pint of Bechamel or white sauce. Two teaspoonfuls of chopped parsley. Half a teaspoonful of lemon-juice.

Boil and season the sauce carefully. Unless it is perfectly smooth, pass it through a strainer. Then add the chopped parsley and lemon juice, and serve in a hot tureen.

Soubise Sauce

Required: Half a pint of Bechamel or white sauce. Half a pint of white stock or milk. Three large onions. Salt, pepper, and castor sugar.

Peel and slice the onions, put them in a saucepan with the milk, and boil them until they are tender. Then rub them through a hair sieve and add to the white sauce. Boil it until it is reduced to about half the quantity, then season carefully with salt, pepper, and a pinch of castor sugar, and serve.

N.B. - If preferred, the onions can be finely chopped instead of being sieved.