From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wheat-free bechamel suace

I found myself with 15 pounds of russet potatoes over the holidays and some huge sweet onions.

Let's see - potato soup?  roasted veg?

Hey.  How about a huge roasting pan of scalloped potatoes?  Yes!

I don't usually make bechamel sauce, instead just mixing up milk with cornstarch.  But I was curious to see if I could use SPELT to make bechamel.

So I melted 1.5  (6 oz) sticks of sweet organic butter, let the foam disperse, then added 6 oz of spelt to make a roux and stirred that for 5-6 minutes.

Then I added 1.5 quarts of organic 2% milk and brought it all to a simmer. 

With wheat flour the bechamel would have started to thicken quite quickly.  But the spelt (whole grain) wasn't cooperating.  For the first 10 minutes the bechamel looked like bread crumbs floating in milk.  Crap.  I figured I'd wasted a lot of good food.

But around 11 minutes I notice some resistance against the spoon.  I crossed my fingers.  By 13 minutes the sauce was finally coming together!  Now I had a nice almond-colored bechamel flecked with bits of spelt germ.

I had layered my roasting pan with no less than 15# of potatoes and 4# of onions.  I flavored them with dry mustard, thyme, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, chipotle powder and garlic granules.  Then I covered it all with bechamel.

Silly me.  No way was that going to be enough sauce for a pan that big!  So I also poured in another quart of 2% milk!

I was afraid the sauce would separate when cooking, but no.  The extra milk just sauced right up and in the end I had a huge pan of creamy scalloped potatoes.

I had been expecting company to come down Christmas eve to dig into this bounty, but plans changed.  No matter.  I now have enough frozen scalloped potatoes to get me through a whole winter. LOL

Well there.  I've used SPELT flour for Irish soda bread and bechamel.  Let's see what else I can use this ancient grain flour for.  Stay tuned.

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