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Croque Monsieur with Bechamel Sauce

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croque monsieur

This week’s #SundaySupper theme is Heritage. I have always joked that I am a bit of a mutt, but really that isn’t true. I was adopted at birth, so my mom and dad are really the mutts. I am not really sure what either of them are. A lot of everything. And my step dad is German. And … hubby is Scottish and well, it’s not like I was out of choices there, so I knew this week would be super easy.

Then I got to thinking about it.

When I was in 7th grade my mother pushed me to take French in school. I didn’t understand it at all. Everyone else was taking Spanish but she insisted I took French. Then when 8th grade rolled around, she insisted I continue with it, and so I did, because by that time I actually loved the language and the culture and was a bit obsessed really. And she always encouraged it.

The funny thing is, I always thought the main reason she was pushing it is because she lived in Canada before I was born and they adopted me. So I really had no clue what the real reason until I was going into my 3rd year of French and one day she she told me.

She said the only thing I know about your biological mother is that they had a French Heritage. She wouldn’t say anything else, and I don’t think I asked much more. I think I was sort of stunned.

All these years later, I know what my biological families last name is. And it is indeed 100% French. There were a few that immigrated over to Germany and multiplied that way, but the name is and was originally 100% French.

I will always love that side of my momma. That side that didn’t want to admit to the fact that I was 100% hers, but yet she still gave me that gift of my past which is a beautiful thing. I did complete 5 full years of French.  I wish I could tell you that means something, like I can speak it fluently, but alas, I cannot. Unfortunately time has made me forget a lot. I can translate better than I can speak it. I can tell you what thousands of words are and a lot of it is coming back as my teens are taking French in school, which as been really awesome.

So of course, for Heritage week and #SundaySupper, I chose a French meal, and I really chose the most popular French meal. It’s a favorite of mine and my kids, and we’re sharing it with you. Enjoy!

croque monsieur

Croque Monsieur with Bechamel Sauce

Croque Monsieur with Bechamel Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This is a delicious, traditional recipe for a slightly more elegant version of a simple ham and cheese sandwich.

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of french bread
  • ½ lb. deli ham, thinly sliced
  • 2 c. grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1½ c. of hot milk
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. all purpose flour
  • Dijon Mustard
  • a pinch of pepper and a pinch of nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. The traditional way to serve Croque Monsieur is with a béchamel sauce. Bechamel sauce is a mild, sauce that is delicious. To make it, put 2 Tbs. of butter in a small sauce pan on low heat. Melt the butter completely and allow it to boil for about 2 minutes (you want to see it bubble). Once it is bubbling – add the 3 Tbs. of flour – whisk until smooth. Once it’s smooth, whisk in the hot milk (I just microwaved it for 2 minutes) and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and add a a half cup of the grated cheese (or more if you’d like more – we like more). Mix into the sauce. Then add the pepper and the nutmeg. Stir and set aside.
  3. Lightly butter the bread, and toast it in the oven for about 4 minutes. Flip it over and toast the other side for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Allow the bread to cool slightly and put several slices of ham onto the toasted bread and then divide the remaining cheese on top of the ham slices on each slice of bread. Pick up the other half of the bread and spread a think layer of dijon mustard on the underside of the top of the sandwich. You can hardly taste it but that’s the point, it’s just a light flavor there unless you desire more. Place that on top and you have a sandwich.
  5. Now it’s time to finish it all up. Pour the béchamel sauce over the top of each of the sandwiches. Go ahead – smother them all the way. The more, the better. No joke.
  6. Put the sandwiches into your 400 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Then, turn on the broiler and broil for an additional 1-2 minutes. You want it to be bubbly and the cheese to be slightly golden brown.
  7. Remove the croque monsieur from the oven immediately and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes. Serve! They are delish!

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Ready to get hungry? Don’t forget to visit the other great Heritage #SundaySupper recipes:

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Renee - Kudos Kitchen

Tuesday 5th of June 2012

I completely enjoyed reading your story. However it came about that you took 5 years of French lessons...lucky you! Especially knowing now that it's part of your family history. I wish I knew how to speak French. Maybe someday I'll learn. LOL! I've also always wanted to make a croque monsieur (or madame) but never have. Your sandwich looks indrecible!!! I think you've inspired me to give it a try. Mercie! :)

Samantha @ FerraroKitchen

Sunday 3rd of June 2012

This is such a decadent dish! I had it first at Pastis in NY and fell in love..its a once a year thing and is just so lovely.

Conni @MrsMamaHen

Sunday 3rd of June 2012

Oh my heavens! Oh. My. HEAVENS!!!! I am instantly in love with this recipe. Seriously. I can't wait to make it, thank you so much for sharing it for #SundaySupper, and what a beautiful story to go with it.

Eileen Gross | Wine Everyday

Sunday 3rd of June 2012

Such a beautiful story, and thank you for sharing it with us. Your parents sound like very special people.

The sandwich is heavenly. One of my favorite dishes to eat in Paris! Cheers!

Jen @ Juanita's Cocina

Sunday 3rd of June 2012

What an amazing story you have, my friend. And what a great way to celebrate a part of yourself. These look amazing!

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