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How to make cheese sauce the easy way
If you've read one of my hubs before, you'll hopefully know by now that I like to keep things simple. Making white sauce (or cheese sauce) is no different. There is a stage where you need to be patient though, and that really is the key to making the perfect sauce. But believe me, it really is worth it.
Just for a change, I'm going to show you what the end product looks like, when you've used it to make a side dish for a Sunday Roast Dinner. This is Leek and Broccoli in a homemade cheese sauce. Yum!
A bit of pre-sauce prep!
If you're going to make a cheese sauce, it's a good idea to have something to pour it on! You can use all sorts of vegatable for this. Often, people make cauliflower cheese, but I like to use a combination of leeks and broccoli. That's what I've done here. All you need to do is chop them up into chunks, then boil them together in a pan for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain them, then put to one side in an over dish. They will wait there patiently until your beautiful cheese sauce is ready!
Stuff you will need for sauce
- 1 medium size pan (better too big, than too small)
- 2 and 1/2 ounces of margarine or butter
- 2 ounces of plain or self raisin flour
- 1 pint (or about half a litre) of milk
- Plenty of cheese (play it by taste, as you reach the adding cheese stage)
- Plenty of patience
Sauces are worth investing in, trust me!
Here's the how...
Weigh out two and a half ounces of normal margarine or butter. Put it in a medium size pan, then wack up the heat.
As the butter melts, weigh out approximately 2 ounces of plain flour. I've used self raising flour lots of times, and I honestly can't tell the difference in any end results!
The butter will soon melt. It is important you don't overdo the butter - you can tell if you have because it will turn brown (I've managed this lots of times...it happens!). When it clearly starts to bubble away, throw in the flour (whichever one you used!), and stir the butter and flour together. A woodenspoon is best for this.
The butter will grab hold of all the flour and you will end up with a squishy ball (technical term)!!
The next bit is where you need to be patient.
You will need about 1 pint (or about 1/2 litre) of milk. At a rate of about 3 table spoons per action, pour milk into the pan and mix with the squishy ball. At first it seems that little is happening, but this is where you need to be patient. Do too much, too soon and your squishy ball will fall apart and curdle. I have suffered this disaster!
Soon, though, your patience will be rewarded, as the whole things begins to bind beatifully. Remain patient, and soon you will have your white sauce. You can see the progression in the photos.
Once your mixture does look like a sauce, turn down to a low heat, go away and cut some thin slices of cheese (I use a medium cheddar). It's up to you how much you use! Put the slices in the sauce, turn up the heat and stir until the cheese is completely melted.
Your white sauce, has now turned into cheese sauce!! Woo-hoo!
Thick or thin sauce? Well, it's up to you. If you like thinner, add extra milk. When ready, pour over the waiting leeks and broccoli. I then pop this in the oven at about 180c for about 10 to 15 minutes. Ooh, also, I like to put a few slices of cheese randomly on top of the poured sauce. These melt and crisp up by the time you take the dish out of the oven.
I hope you enjoy this one. :-)