Tuesday, September 9, 2014
"A Good White Sauce"
Today's recipe is taken from the Win-the-War Cookery Book's "Leeks in Sauce," which calls for an unspecified quantity of leeks to be boiled in salted water for an hour "or until tender" (see the image below for the ocular proof) before being transferred to a greased pie dish, covered with "a good white sauce," and baked. When I was looking for something to accompany the other night's "fish" sausages I decided to give this very simple sauce a go, and was pleasantly surprised by the results. I generally start such things with a roux of fat and all-purpose flour, but because wheat flour was both scarce and dear in 1917, many period recipes call for cornflour (that's cornstarch here in the USA) instead, and I must say it gives a lovely, light smoothness to the finished product.
I basically followed the directions as written, substituting margarine and soy milk for their cow-sourced analogues; I added bouillon for extra oomph, but you could easily stick to the salt, pepper, and nutmeg called for in the prototype. This sauce would also work beautifully with herbs like sage, rosemary, tarragon, dill, etc. I made a batch with fresh parsley for use in a savory pie - which included leeks, albeit not ones that had been boiled for an hour - and it made a perfect complement to the root vegetable filling. Another win for the women of Britain, and a new basic white sauce for me: victory all round!
A Good White Sauce
~ 2 tbsp. Earth Balance or other vegan margarine
~ 1 tbsp. cornstarch
~ 2 cups plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 2 tsp. no chicken bouillon or 1 tsp. salt
~ A few grinds of black pepper
~ Dash nutmeg
~ In a saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat and stir in the cornstarch and a little of the soy milk, whisking until smooth.
~ Gradually add the remaining milk, bouillon or salt, pepper, and nutmeg, whisking constantly.
~ Allow the mixture to boil and continue whisking for 5-7 minutes, until you have a similar consistency to a milk gravy. Adjust seasonings and serve hot over anything you like.