Even the simplest vegetables will undergo a wonderful transformation when served with Béchamel sauce.
This time I used a cabbage, carrots and frozen green peas. Cauliflower, broccoli, frozen vegetable mixtures and even potatoes will also shine with this sauce.
A few words about frozen vegetables: it is proven that the freezing process preserves the quality of vegetables, so they could be even superior to some fresh ones. Indeed, many vegetables are not suitable for a long storage except for a few, like potatoes, cabbage and carrots which will retain their freshness for a long time. Do you know how long did it take for the vegetables in your grocery store to reach the shelf? On the opposite, the frozen vegetables were picked when they were in season and processed using the best method which preserved their qualities. So, I will rather buy frozen Brussels sprouts, if they are not in season.
Traditionally French Béchamel sauce is prepared from some flour, butter, milk and a dash of salt. A spoon of parmesan can be added to the sauce to make it more savoir, but I wanted to make almost ‘pure’ Béchamel. To make the blunt taste of the cabbage a little sharper, I just added a bit of garlic and spices to the sauce.
Vegetables with Béchamel sauce would be a wonderful satisfying side dish, or a complete delicious vegetarian meal.
Vegetables with Béchamel Sauce
- 1 small head white (green) cabbage, cut into cubes (squares)
- 2 carrots, cut into large chunks
- 1 cup frozen green peas
For garlic béchamel sauce:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 medium clove garlic, smashed/minced
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp ground fennel (coriander and fennel can be replaced by ¼ tsp Herbs de Provence)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Black pepper
Add the cabbage into a large pot with boiled salted water. Bring to a boil.
Add the carrots. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat and cook until desired tenderness. (I cook about 7-8 minutes).
Add the green peas. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.
Drain the vegetables (save the water for soup or stew, you can freeze this vegetable broth). Transfer them into a salad bowl.
Pour the hot béchamel sauce over the vegetables. Option: serve vegetables with the béchamel sauce on a side.
For béchamel sauce:
While the vegetables are cooking, make the sauce.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and, stirring constantly (using a whisk), cook for 1 minute until smooth. The flour-and-butter mixture should stay pale color. The French béchamel is the white sauce.
Add the milk, garlic, and spices. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to lowest, and, stirring constantly to avoid lumps, cook the sauce for 3-5 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thick, smooth and silky.
Cook with pleasure!