Bread Sauce

With tomorrow being Christmas Eve all the baking is taken care of, the house is decorated, the presents are wrapped and now our thoughts will be turning to the main event, Christmas Dinner - the most anticipated meal of the year. Times have changed and no longer are shops closed for a week after Christmas, yet we all still tend to pack our fridges and presses tightly in preparation for this memorable meal. In most families there is generally one who takes on the task of the Christmas dinner. Many will have a few extra, so when feeding a big crowd it's always a good idea to plan ahead and give the willing cooks amongst the group some little job. This naturally takes pressure off the 'head cook' and I feel makes the whole experience much more enjoyable when the work isn't left to just one or two. Of course I'm speaking as the 'cook' and not the one who gets to munch on Roses while watching Back to the Future and awaiting their dinner to be served.
 As a child I was always allocated with the job of making the bread sauce for Christmas dinner. I would follow Darina's recipe, from A Simple Delicious Christmas Cookbook, to a tee and naturally after making it myself I had to eat copious amounts of it with my turkey. The comforting smell of the milk, infusing on the hob, with onions and cloves is one of my all-time favourite Christmas scents. I can't remember a Christmas dinner without bread sauce but for anyone who hasn't yet tasted it I'd urge you to give it a try this Christmas. The combination of ingredients may sound peculiar and when cooked it does slightly resemble something that Oliver may of been looking for 'more' of, but believe me that once you taste it you'll love it and ever more will include it as part of your Christmas celebrations.

Bread Sauce

600ml (1 pint) milk
50g (2 oz) butter
1 onion quartered and studded with 8 cloves
2 bay leaves
10 peppercorns
2 thyme sprigs
Generous grating of nutmeg
To Finish
100g breadcrumbs
100ml cream
Knob of butter
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.      Pour the milk into a pan, add the onion, butter, nutmeg, bay leaves and thyme, and then bring to the boil. Turn the heat to its lowest setting and infuse the milk for 30 minutes.
2.      If you have time, do this the day before, leave to cool completely, and then chill overnight.
3.      Pass the milk through a sieve and pour into a clean saucepan. 
4.   Add the breadcrumbs, cream and butter and heat through on a low heat for 15 minutes.
5. Taste and season if necessary with salt and pepper. Add a little milk if the bread sauce is too thick.

6. To serve, spoon into a bowl and serve hot with an extra little grating of nutmeg. 

If anyone has any queries about their Christmas cooking feel free to e-mail me or contact me through Facebook or Twitter. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who read the blog and I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas with health & happiness for 2012.
Nessa x


Imen McDonnell said...

Yummilicious! Happy Christmas to you and yours Nessa! xoxo

Brownieville Girl said...

Oh I love bread sauce - probably the only regret I have about not cooking turkey any more!!!

Hope you have a lovely Christmas free from strife.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I've never had this and you make it sound so delicious I just may make some for our Christmas table, thanks Nessa, and have a wonderful holiday.

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Nessa , thanks so much for all you do for us and others 1 Take time for yourself this Christmas promise?

Nessa Robins said...

Thank you very much, ladies! I hope you are enjoying the Christmas season.