Monday, 15 December 2014

Bread Sauce

At this time of year you need something simple to make which can be made in advance  and in bulk and then frozen to save time.  Something simple like home made bread sauce which gives a lot of flavour to meat.  Once frozen all you need to do is liberate a pot from the freezer.  I am talking about Bread sauce - some people know about this others do not

This is something that is and has been regularly served up by my paternal family, subsequently my birth family, and myself with roast chicken as it adds a different dimension and a lot of flavour to a roast chicken meal.  My partner's family had never come across it either (he is particularly taken with it).   It is wonderful if served with sage and onion stuffing (with sausagemeat in) as well. I call bread sauce, stuffings and Yorkshire Puddings "padder outers" as they add more to the plate, give lots of flavour and use up a valuable commodity i.e. bread, which may otherwise be wasted.  This fits in nicely with my "Waste Not Want Not" philosophy.

My mum said that she had never tried it until she became engaged to my Dad and went for a meal at his parents' where my grandmother had served it.  Mum had thought that it added a lot of flavour and was a good way of using up any excess bread and after they were married it became a staple with her Sunday dinner roast chicken.

In fact I can remember a time where my brother and I refused point blank to eat it.  Its funny how your tastes change and you grow into things and then you wonder why you haven't discovered it sooner. 

Bread sauce is a wonderful sauce to make with any excess bread and then to store it in the freezer.  Especially come Christmas as it can get a bit chaotic in the kitchen.  In common practice I tend to make my own and freeze it ahead as it saves time and hob capacity and I just take it out the freezer on Christmas Eve and then warm it through in a saucepan or "ping it" in the microwave.  But equally if after your dinner there is a load left do not throw it away you can add it to the chicken or Turkey sandwich  together with home made cranberry sauce or add it to some home made Chicken or Turkey pies.

Why the Nostalgia regarding bread sauce - its because when I was in Marks and Spencers yesterday I espied pots and pots of it - and I thought this was something else to part your pennies from your purse when in fact this is very simple to make and utilises ingredients that are usually readily to hand in most kitchens.  Here is the recipe I use and as I have indicated before it is well worth getting yourself organised and preparing it yourself because it has so much flavour when it is prepared at home, i.e. batch cooking and then to squirrel things away in the freezer.  The same goes for home made soups as they help so much when you are in a hurry.

Anyway that's enough of my ramblings here is the recipe I use:


1 large onion peeled and derooted, cut in half studded with about 18 to 20 whole cloves (the more you use the stronger the flavour so if you just want a subtle hint go steady.
couple of Bay leaves
Good sprinkling of white pepper
About a pint of milk - this varies as to how many people am cooking for 
2oz butter
Pinch of Nutmeg
A couple of while black pepper
About 4 oz bread crumbed
A little fresh cream to finish (optional)

Put the milk, the prepared onion studded with the cloves, the bay leaves, sprinkling of white pepper nutmeg and whole pepper and bring everything up to the boil.  Take off the heat and leave the mixture to steep (I do this overnight), but it can be achieved in about 2 or so hours but the longer the steep the more flavour is released.

The next stage is to remove the onion, bayleaf and peppercorns keeping the studded onion  to one side.  Stir in the breadcrumbs and add about half the butter and stirring in the mixture on a very low heat until the mixture has thickened.  I tend to use a balloon whisk to do the stirring with as if the mixture goes lumpy it can be easily retrieved by a little wrist action.  Now replace the onion in the mixture and leave in a warm place until just before ready to serve.  Then take out the onion and cloves (making sure none of the same have released themselves from the onion as there is nothing worse than a whole clove in your mouth) and beat in the rest of the butter and a little cream tasting to check you are happy with the flavour and seasoning.  Pour into a serving jug and keep warm until served;

Costs pennies to make not pounds!

Catch you soon



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