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Bechamel Sauce with Cheese

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In Greek: μπεσαμέλ με τυρί (pronounced behs-sah-MEL meh tee-REE)

This thick version of bechamel comes from my neighbor, Yiorgia, and it turns out thick and rich every time. It's made with evaporated milk and contains cheese, and is just one variation of this popular sauce used with meats and vegetables. It isn't hard to make, and doesn't take long, but it has to be stirred the entire time.

See a video version of a similar recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of evaporated milk (14.5 ounce cans)
  • 8 tablespoons of cornstarch (or cornflour)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup of grated kefalotyri cheese (or pecorino)
  • 1 tablespoon of butter-flavored vegetable shortening or butter
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • pinch of grated nutmeg

Preparation:

In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Once it boils, dissolve the cornstarch in one can of evaporated milk, and add to the water, stirring briskly with a wire whisk. Lower the heat to medium and add the second can of milk, the salt, and shortening or butter. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens. Add the beaten eggs and nutmeg, whisking very quickly (so the eggs don't cook) until well blended. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese, mix well and set aside, covered, until ready to use.

Yield: enough for one complete 11 x 14 x 3 pan of moussaka or pastitsio (about 7 cups).

Storage & Reheating

Béchamel can be refrigerated for one day (not more). It can be reheated using a double boiler (stirring constantly) or in the microwave, covered, vented, on medium power. Microwave time depends on the amount to be reheated and the microwave's wattage, so check every couple of minutes.

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