JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bread sauce

Partridge for dinner last night. Roasted for 20 minutes at 220C. Could have done with a minute or two more, I think. Slightly disappointing, we both thought, just a little too like chicken to be worth bothering with. But it was red legged partridge, which is not so tasty as the native grey partridge.

I'm posting my method for making bread sauce because Lettice rang up from university last week to ask how to make it, after failing to find it on the blog. The really important thing is to have decent bread. Proper bread, preferably a loaf you made yourself. Anything that comes in a plastic bag will almost certainly not make decent breadcrumbs.

You hear people say they can't be bothered with bread sauce because it doesn't taste of much; I think they've probably only ever had packet bread sauce. For years I didn't bother, which I now rather regret, as it adds good texture to any bird. It's a good way to use up stale bread (important if you make your own, when there's no question of throwing any away), AND it's one of those thrifty dishes that stretches the meat further .... another way to eat less meat &/or save a little money. All the virtues. Especially if you bake a loaf first.

Bread sauce

I do it all by eye. It's very forgiving: if you get it wrong, you can correct it with more milk or breadcrumbs. It's also easy, so long as it's the first thing you prepare; it doesn't require much input from the cook, but it does need time to develop into something worth eating.

You'll need

milk (it doesn't have to be full-fat; I often use skimmed if that's what there is)
good breadcrumbs

Peel an onion or two (I used a couple of shallots yesterday). I generally cut them into chunks and leave them in the finished sauce, but this is not what refined cooks do. Pour milk into a saucepan (say, 5-600ml). Add the onions, a couple of cloves (stick them into the onion if you're going to fish it all out at the end), and grate a little nutmeg into the pan. A bay leaf would be good, too.

Heat the milk, but do not let it boil. Leave to steep for at least half an hour. Then add breadcrumbs (best if they're not blitzed to dust; a few bigger bits add texture). Somewhere between three and five slices is probably about right for up to 600ml of milk; they'll swell up as they absorb the flavoured milk, so leave a little spare milk in the mix. Better to be adding more crumbs at the end than milk, as any liquid you add will dilute the taste.

When you're ready to eat, reheat the sauce, adding more milk or breadcrumbs if necessary. Taste it, too, although you're unlikely to need to salt it, as bread is high in sodium.

Related posts

Roast grouse with bread sauce

Other things to do with stale or leftover bread

Herb stuffing for roast chicken
Grilled trout with rosemary stuffing
Baked scallops
Anchovy toasts

Lots of easy ways to bake your own bread, even though you're busy

Daily bread
Daily bread 2

Six seed rolls
Bread knots - another simple way to make beautiful and delicious rolls, using this dough, or your default dough

Yeast starter for bread - and the bread
make your own sourdough starter

No-knead bread the famous NY Times recipe
Speeded-up no-knead bread and a different take on it

Yoghurt bread fabulous, easy, TRY IT
Quick oat loaf
Spelt bread - it's getting easier to buy this highly-flavoured flour

Anti-oxidant tea bread - I made this for my husband for a pre-surgery boost - delicious, too!

Yeast conversion - fresh/dried/quick

No comments: