Beer Cheese Sauce

Everyone should learn this recipe for a cheese sauce, using beer.  The French call it a Mornay Sauce.  It can be used as a Nacho Cheese Sauce, a base for Mac & Cheese, a sauce for Crêpes and substituted for Cheez Whiz in a Philly Steak Sandwich.

Makes: about 3 cups

Ingredients:

4        tablespoonbutter, unsalted
½cup onion, yellow, peeled and diced (about a quarter of an onion)
1 eachbay leaf, preferably fresh
4 tablespoonflour, all-purpose

2cupBeer, depending on the desired flavor
1cupcream, heavy preferably organic and not ultra pasteurized
5eachblack peppercorns, whole
3eachcloves, whole
⅛       teaspoonnutmeg, freshly grated
½cup grated cheese, such as Comte, Emmentaler, Gouda, Aged Cheddar


Directions:

In a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, add the butter and let it melt.  Add the prepped onion, bay leaf and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until the onion is transparent.  Add a pinch of salt, then dust the onions with the flour, stirring to make a roux.  Cook the roux for 3-4 minutes, stirring the whole time, to prevent burning the flour.  Switching to a whisk, slowly pour in the beer, followed by the cream, whisking to combine, making sure there are no lumps of roux.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and adjust the heat to keep a gentle simmer.  Add the peppercorns, cloves and nutmeg.  Whisk the mixture occasionally over the next 30 minutes, as the flour flavor cooks out of the sauce. 

Remove the bay leaf, clove and peppercorns from the sauce.  Remove the sauce from the heat and while whisking slowly add in the grated cheese.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  This sauce can be made with all types of beer styles.  Depending on the final use, adjust the beer flavor with different types of cheese to highlight the cheese and beer, much like a cheese pairing.