Photo by Victor Protasio; Prop styling by Audrey Davis; Food styling by Torie Cox
YieldsMakes 2 cups (serving size: 1/4 cup)

Double this recipe and freeze it as a gift to your future self--to use in mac 'n' cheese or lasagna.

This recipe goes with: Creamed Spinach.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, fennel pollen, and chile flakes and cook over medium heat, covered, until onions are translucent but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add wine and cook, uncovered, 4 minutes. Stir in cream and milk and bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Cover and let steep 1 hour.

Step 2
2

Make bacon roux: Heat bacon fat in a medium (not nonstick) frying pan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in flour and whisk until smooth. Cook, whisking, about 1 minute to remove raw flour taste (roux will bubble and thicken). Remove from heat.

Step 3
3

Strain cream mixture into another medium saucepan. Whisk in 1/3 cup roux, the sour cream, nutmeg, parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste. Reheat over low heat until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes (if it breaks, whisk in 1 to 2 tbsp. water). Strain if needed.

Ingredients

BÉCHAMEL
 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
 1/4 onion, finely chopped
 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
 2 large branches thyme
 1 bay leaf
 3 cloves
 1 teaspoon fennel pollen or 2 tsp. freshly ground fennel seeds
 1/4 teaspoon red chile flakes
 1/4 cup dry white wine
 3/4 cup whipping cream
 3/4 cup milk
 1/4 cup sour cream
 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  Freshly ground pepper
BACON ROUX
 1/3 cup strained bacon fat (reserved from making bacon bits) or melted salted butter
 1/3 cup flour

Directions

Step 1
1

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, cloves, fennel pollen, and chile flakes and cook over medium heat, covered, until onions are translucent but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add wine and cook, uncovered, 4 minutes. Stir in cream and milk and bring just to a boil, then remove from heat. Cover and let steep 1 hour.

Step 2
2

Make bacon roux: Heat bacon fat in a medium (not nonstick) frying pan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in flour and whisk until smooth. Cook, whisking, about 1 minute to remove raw flour taste (roux will bubble and thicken). Remove from heat.

Step 3
3

Strain cream mixture into another medium saucepan. Whisk in 1/3 cup roux, the sour cream, nutmeg, parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste. Reheat over low heat until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes (if it breaks, whisk in 1 to 2 tbsp. water). Strain if needed.

Bacon Béchamel