Servings: 1 2/3 cups

4 tablespoons butter (no substitute)
1/4 cup unsifted flour
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt (approx.)
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons minced yellow onion
2 oz. ground veal (use only if sauce is for meat or poultry)
1 small sprig fresh thyme or a pinch of dried thyme
1/2 bay leaf
Pinch nutmeg

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a double boiler top over direct moderate heat; blend in flour, slowly add milk, and heat, stirring, until thickened. Mix in salt and pepper. Set over simmering water. Stir-fry onion in remaining butter for 3-5 minutes over moderate heat until limp. Add veal if sauce is for meat or poultry, and stir-fry until no longer pink. Add to sauce along with remaining ingredients; cover and cook 1 hour over simmering water; beating now and then with a whisk and scraping bottom and sides of pan with a rubber spatula. Strain sauce, taste for salt and adjust.