Bread sauce is one of the great, classic sauces, but I think it has
suffered from either not being made properly or â€“ worst of all â€“ being made from a mix or packet. The real thing is beautifully creamy and the perfect accompaniment to chicken or turkey.
4 oz (110 g) freshly made white breadcrumbs (a two-day-old white loaf with crusts removed will be hard enough to grate, but the best way to make the crumbs is in a liquidiser, if you have one)
1 large onion
15-18 whole cloves or freshly grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
1 pint (570 ml) breakfast milk
2 oz (50 g) butter
2 tablespoons double cream
salt and freshly milled black pepper
Cut the onion in half and stick the cloves in it â€“ how many you use is a personal matter; I happen to like a pronounced flavour of clove. If you don’t like them at all, you can use some freshly grated nutmeg instead. Place the onion â€“ studded with cloves â€“ plus the bay leaf and the peppercorns, in a saucepan together with the milk. Add some salt then bring everything up to boiling point. Take off the heat, cover the pan and leave in a warm place for the milk to infuse for two hours or more.
When you’re ready to make the sauce, remove the onion, bay leaf and peppercorns and keep them on one side. Stir the breadcrumbs into the milk and add 1 oz (25 g) of the butter. Leave the saucepan on a very low heat, stirring now and then, until the crumbs have swollen and thickened the sauce â€“ about 15 minutes. Now replace the clove-studded onion, the bay leaf and the peppercorns and again leave the pan in a warm place until the sauce is needed.
Just before serving, remove the onion and spices. Reheat gently then beat in the remaining butter and the cream and taste to check the seasoning. Pour into a warm serving jug.
HOW TO MAKE BREAD SAUCE
1. To make enough for eight people, halve a large onion and stick
cloves into each half (how many you use is a matter of personal taste â€“ I suggest 15-18. If you don’t like them at all, use some freshly grated nutmeg instead). Place the onion halves in a saucepan with a bay leaf, 8 black peppercorns, 1 pint (570 ml) of creamy milk and some salt. Bring everything up to simmering point, remove from the heat, put the lid on and leave everything to infuse for at least 2 hours.
2. When you are ready to make the bread sauce, remove the onion, bay leaf and, if you can, the peppercorns, with a draining spoon.
Keep the onion to one side, as you may want to put it back into the finished sauce for extra flavour.
3. Stir 4 oz (110 g) freshly made white breadcrumbs into the milk
and add 1 oz (25 g) butter. Stir over a low heat to melt the butter and thicken the sauce slightly â€“ this will take about 15 minutes.
4. After that, you can add the onion back in, to give the sauce extra flavour. Leave the sauce in the pan in a warm place until you are
ready to serve it. Just before serving, remove the onion and spices. Re-heat the sauce gently then beat in another 1 oz (25 g) of butter and 2 tablespoons of double cream. Taste to check the seasoning. Pour into a warmed serving jug.