Xigbar (hyperform) wrote in vegancooking,

A couple months ago I posted a recipe for a bechamel sauce I had come up with. Since then it's been a frequent experiment in the lab (the kitchen) and I've come up with some improvements.

Jackson's Vegan Bechamel Sauce

2 Cloves garlic
1 Crimini mushroom
1 Tbsp pine nuts
1 pecan (two halves)
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1-2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 cup unflavored soymilk
2 Tbsp dry white wine
1 bay leaf

Start off by trying to get the garlic, mushroom, pine nuts, and pecan cut up as finely as possible. Ideally, you want it to be sort of a paste. I actually pounded the nuts in a mortar and pestle until they were pretty much paste. Pine nuts are so fatty that they help. I minced the garlic and mushroom as finely as I possibly could. Crimini mushrooms are fantastic. They're unopened portobello mushrooms so they have that really rich "umami" flavor. Throw these all into a heavy skillet with the melted margarine and the bay leaf and cook over loooooow heat. Lowest you can get it. You want it to sautee for a while so the flavors release into the fat but if you're not careful the garlic, cut so fine, will burn like crazy and taste like absolute and utter hell. When you notice the garlic bits beginning to get a bit yellowish and transparent, throw in the flour. It's important to do that here because if you add flour to hot liquid you get clumps. How thick you want your sauce should dictate how much flour you add. I'd say start off on the low end and if you really think it needs more, spoon out a little bit of the liquid after it's been cooking and bit and whip more flour into it before adding it back to the rest. Add the soymilk and turn up the heat until it starts to simmer. Add the wine. I used dry Vermouth because I have a ton of it left over from making martinis a while ago. Seems like everyone always has a ton of Vermouth sitting around, and since it's technically a very dry (fortified) white wine, you can use it here. You want to add it early to give time for the alcohol to evaporate off. If you don't, the sauce will end up tasting like hell. You want what's left over of the taste of the wine after the alcohol is gone. Throw in the salt and pepper. In my opinion, white pepper is better here, but black pepper is perfectly acceptible. This is a taste issue. You want to add just enough pepper that it flavors it but it's not so strong that you're like "hey, i taste pepper." Do you know what I mean? Same with salt. As soon as you notice salt, you've gone too far. But if you stay right below that threshold it'll just taste better. Once it's uniformly simmering and a thickness you want it, remove the bay leaves and put it on your favorite pasta. As far as I'm concerned, food is all about balance. Having all the right flavors is pointless unless you have them all in balance. Try it out, tell me what you think.
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