Bread Sauce
A Great English Sauce for Chicken or Turkey

Bread Sauce is an English classic. Traditionally served alongside the roast Christmas turkey, it's equally good with roast chicken or duck. Its origins can be traced back to the middle ages when cooks needed ways to use up leftover bread and found it could be used to thicken all manner of stews, soups and sauces. Not many of the traditional sauce recipes using bread have survived. So it's a very good thing that this one has.

When well-made, this sauce turns into a velvety, creamy concoction of milk and breadcrumbs delicately flavoured with bay leaf, nutmeg or cloves.

Making bread sauce is not complicated, but it cannot be made in a hurry. Or leastways if it is, it will be but a pale, tasteless imitation of a delicious sauce. So allow some time. (It does not mean any more kitchen work for you!)

Bread Sauce © Monkey Business Images | dreamstime.comBread Sauce © Monkey Business Images |

Bread Sauce Ingredients

  • 400ml / 14 fl oz milk
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • grated nutmeg to taste
  • 50g / 2 oz breadcrumbs
  • 25g / 1oz butter

You'll also need a heavy bottomed pan with a tight-fitting lid, like these...

Cuisinart 619-14 Chef's Classic 1-Quart Nonstick-Hard-Anodized, Saucepan w/Cover |
JEETEE 2.5 Quart Saucepan with Lid Nonstick Stone Coating Sauce Pan Milk Pan for Cooking Induction Pot |

HexClad 1 Quart Hybrid Pot with Glass Lid - Non Stick Saucepan, Easy to Clean, Dishwasher & Oven Safe - Perfect for Making Sauces, Reheating Soups |

Making Bread Sauce

Onion with Cloves © Lessy | Getty Images canva.comOnion with Cloves
© Lessy | Getty Images

Ideally, you should start making your sauce the day before you want to serve it. The flavour will really be soooo much better.

Besides, it's one job less to worry about when you're preparing food for a crowd.

  1. Pour the milk into the pan. Add the salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and nutmeg.
  2. Push the cloves into the halved onions and add these to the milk, too.
  3. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat, clap on the lid and leave to infuse; the longer the better, but at least for half an hour.
  4. When ready to continue, lift out the onion and spices with a slotted spoon, or strain the milk through a muslin or fine sieve.
  5. Return the milk to the pan and add the breadcrumbs.
  6. Bring the mix to the boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes or until the mixture is thick and creamy.
  7. Stir in the butter and keep warm until ready to serve.

Got Leftovers? Make Cheese Pie!

If you're like me, you'll have plenty of ideas and quick fixes up your sleeve that will help you deal with post-Christmas leftovers. Turkey curry, noodle soup, peas and ham, vegetables... all that's easy. But what if you've made too much sauce?

Not a problem. Especially not here. If you happen to have some bread sauce left over, don't throw it!

One very tasty way to deal with the excess is to turn it into a fluffy cheese pie. You'll get extra points because the kids will love it and you can serve it for dinner with a simple salad on the side.

How to? Simply take your leftover sauce and mix in a large handful of grated cheese. Then separate two eggs and beat the yolks into your sauce-and-cheese mix. Season to taste with salt, pepper and maybe a touch of mustard. Beat the whites until stiff and fold in.

Turn the mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle a little more grated cheese over the top. Cook in the middle of the oven at a medium heat until golden, risen and a little wobbly in the middle. Serve with a simple green salad and - if you're cooking dinner for adults - a nice glass of red wine.

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