A soft, buttery, herb-infused spoonful of creamy bread sauce takes a lot of beating. It perfectly brings together roast turkey, sweet braised carrots, nutty Brussels sprouts and little pigs in blankets. It’s one of those slightly quirky British recipes, which comes into its own at this time of year. So, celebrate the humble bread sauce and make this year’s extra-special.
CLEVER TWISTS ON THE CLASSIC
Traditionally, bread sauce is made with white loaves, but you can switch it up depending on the type of bread you prefer. Brown or wholemeal loaves will add a little extra body to the sauce, and a slightly deeper, nuttier flavour. You can also swap plain white bread for gluten-free varieties.
Why not experiment with the size of your breadcrumbs, ranging from fine crumbs which will make a smooth sauce, to torn chunks of bread for a rustic touch?
Lastly, you can transform bread sauce by baking it in an ovenproof dish to give it a lovely crunchy topping.
BEAUTIFUL BREAD SAUCE
This luxurious recipe uses ciabatta bread and a dash of double cream, which gives it fantastic hearty texture. It’s so quick and simple to whip up and will make all the difference to your Christmas Day plate.
2 fresh bay leaves
700ml whole milk
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
2 loaves of ready-to-bake ciabatta
30g unsalted butter
4 tablespoons double cream
1. Peel the onion, leaving it whole, then spike it all over with the cloves.
2. Put the spiked onion into a medium saucepan with the bay leaves, milk and a few pinches of sea salt and black pepper. Finely grate in a few scrapings of nutmeg.
3. Place the pan on a high heat and bring to the boil – keep a close eye on it as milk comes to the boil very suddenly. Reduce to a low heat and simmer very gently for 5 minutes to let the flavours infuse. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cut the crusts off of the ciabatta loaves.
5. Tear 1½ loaves into chunks and pulse them in a food processor until you have coarse breadcrumbs.
6. Strain the milk through a sieve into a jug, discarding everything left behind in the sieve.
7. Return the milk to the pan and bring back to the boil over a high heat. Reduce to a medium heat and simmer, gradually stirring in the breadcrumbs until you’ve used them all up. Add the butter and cream to the pan, stir well, then have a taste and season with a little more salt and pepper, if needed.
8. Have a look at the sauce – you want it to be the perfect consistency for you. If it’s too runny, blitz the remaining ciabatta and add some more breadcrumbs, if it’s a little thick, add more milk. Transfer to a jug or bowl and serve.
Tip: If you’re making this for another day, you want the consistency to be a little looser than you’d like, as it will thicken as it sits, so add a bit more milk.
Discover Jamie’s ultimate recipes for all the festive classics in Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook, on sale now. And take a look at our Christmas hub for ideas for everything from cocktails and edible gifts, to special diet recipes and tasty leftovers.