Roasted onions and bread sauce

Sweet, caramelised onions are paired with a traditional spiced bread sauce in Sophie Michells dinner party dish
By Sophie Michell
Roasted onions and bread sauce
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes plus one hour infusing time
  • Effort: easy


For the bread sauce

  • 1 litres milk
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 large pinch ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small loaf white bread, (preferably one day old)
  • pinches grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 25 g butter

For the roasted onions

  • 2 large red onions, quartered
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • splash olive oil
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 50 g butter


1. For the bread sauce: pour the milk into a heavy-based saucepan and put over a low heat. Add the onions, ground cloves, bay leaf and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Gently heat the mixture through, until nearly simmering.

2. Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside to infuse for at least one hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

4. For the roasted onions: spread the red and white onions in a roasting tray and drizzle over some olive oil. Scatter over the thyme and dot with pieces of the butter. then spread in a baking/roasting dish and sprinkle with the olive oil, thyme and the butter, broken up into knobs. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, or until the onions are cooked and starting to caramelise around the edges.

5. Meanwhile, for the bread sauce, remove the crusts from the bread and shred the bread into small pieces (you can do this in a blender if you want). Spread two tablespoons of the rough breadcrumbs onto a baking sheet, and place into the oven for 5-6 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown. Transfer to a gratin dish.

6. Strain the milk into a clean pan, and discarding the onion and bay leaf. Add the remaining breadcrumbs to the milk and place back over a medium heat.

7. Bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Cook until the bread has absorbed the milk mixture and breaks down.

8. Pour the bread sauce over the onions in the gratin dish and add another pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Sprinkle over the crisp breadcrumbs and the remaining thyme. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown and bubbling.

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