To me, the best bread sauce is made out of brown bread rather than the more traditional white bread and includes meltingly soft pieces of onion. It should also be rich with cream and butter and have a definite hint of cloves and nutmeg. The sauce must be cooked slowly either on top of the stove in a pan or in a covered dish in a low oven, stirring now and then. As some bread absorbs more liquid than others, adjust the thickness of the sauce towards the end by adding more milk or more crumbled bread.
Put the onion into a heavy-based saucepan with the pieces of bread and butter. Tie the cloves up in a piece of muslin, and add to the pan. Add the milk and double cream. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir to mix. Cover the saucepan and put over the lowest possible heat, stirring now and then to break up the bread and to stop any of it sticking to the bottom of the pan, for 1–1½ hours until the sauce is thick and soft.
Remove the bag of cloves, add the grated nutmeg and season with more salt and pepper if needed. If you like, stir in a little more double cream.
If you prefer, cook the sauce in the oven. Follow the recipe but put the ingredients into a casserole dish, cover and cook at 120°C, 250°F, Gas Mark ½ for 2–2½ hours.
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