From: The Thorough Good Cook

Sauces: 12. Bread

Put a large piece of crumb from a stale loaf into a saucepan, with half a pint of milk, an onion, a blade of mace, and a few peppercorns in a bit of cloth. Boil them a few minutes, then take out the onion and spice, mash the bread very smooth, and add to it a piece of butter and a little salt.

This antiquarian and scrumptious sauce has its roots in medieval England. It is fully laden with spices that were commonly used in savoury dishes at the time; mace, bay, cloves and nutmeg. These days it is mostly associated with Christmas and in particular, roast turkey and chicken. The sauce has an amazing affinity with all manner of poultry dishes and it is included on our new menu accompanying a simply roasted supreme (breast with half wing attached) of chicken, stuffed with sage.

It is extremely simple to make, it is just a spice infused liquid, usually cream, milk or chicken stock or combinations, that is thickened with diced bread. The simple combination of liquid and bread acts as a blank canvas that conveys they spices to your mouth in a most delicious way. As with all simple recipes, choose your ingredients well. Fresh whole spices and good quality stale bread.

Try some with your next roast chicken.


  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) pouring cream (35% butterfat)
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
  • 2 shallots or 1/2 an onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 nutmeg, grated
  • 1/2 blade of mace
  • 1 cup (80 gm) good stale bread, crust removed and cut into small cubes
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Method

    Combine the cream and milk in a saucepan. Add the shallots and spices and gently bring to the simmer, cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the bread and allow it to absorb the cream and thicken, this takes about 10 minutes. When it has a nice dolloping consistency, gently reheat and serve with roasted poultry.
  • If the amount of cream used in this recipe alarms you (or your cardiologist), then simply use a higher proportion of milk or chicken stock, it just wont taste as rich.
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