onion sauce should never be lumpy

As Easter approaches I guess many people are thinking about what to serve for Easter Sunday dinner, but I also guess not many will be thinking of roast lamb. Lamb isn’t as popular now as it used to be, and it is also very expensive, compared to other meats. We won’t be having it because I’m the only person who likes it, and also, there may only be the two of us for Sunday dinner. There are different accompaniments to roast lamb, probably the most common is mint sauce which i don’t like, but I do like onion sauce, otherwise known as Soubise sauce here is something i wrote about it a couple of years ago:

We had roast lamb one Christmas Day and I made what I consider the traditional accompaniment, onion sauce. I did buy some mint to also make mint sauce, but unfortunately I forgot and so there was only onion sauce on offer… which only I ate… My version of onion sauce has the onions very gently cooked in butter to be soft but not browned, and then made into a sauce with plain flour, milk seasoning and a splash of sherry. Unfortunately I had no sherry so used port which made it pink… and not as appetising somehow. It tasted fine… but as I said, none of the family shared it so I now have quite a lot left – cream of onion soup I think! There are lots of ways to make it; my cousin who makes very fine onion sauce boils the onions in a little water then uses some or all of it to add to the sauce.

I didn’t realise that onion sauce – especially if puréed or blended (which never occurred to me) is called soubise; I wonder if my family would be more impressed if I called it soubise, and I wonder if the texture might be more pleasing if I did blend it? Maybe I should try this with the ordinary onion sauce I have left over… or maybe I should just make cream of onion soup!

And by the by… according to Wikipedia the word soubise can be associated with:

  • Soubise, a salpicon of cooked and pureed rice and onions; used primarily “au gratin”
  • Soubise sauce is based on Béchamel sauce, with the addition of a soubise of onion and rice purée.
  • Soubise, Charente-Maritime, a commune of the Charente-Maritime département, in France
  • Benjamin, Duke of Soubise (? 1580-1642), Huguenot leader
  • Charles, Prince of Soubise (1715–1787), peer and Marshal of France
  • Julius Soubise (1754–1798), freed Afro-Caribbean slave and noted British fop
  • Prince of Soubise
  • Princess of Soubise
  • Hôtel de Soubise, a Parisian mansion

In case you were wondering – a salpicon or salpicón, means a mixture, hotchpotch or medley in Spanish and refers to a mixture of different foods chopped up small and stirred into a sauce.

We are only a week into April, but according to the National Mark Calendar for cooking, May is just the time for stuffed egg soubise – and the onion sauce it recommends is, according to them ‘very far removed from the slimy white sauce with pieces of half-cooked onion floating dismally about in it… onion sauce should never be lumpy.’

  • 2 lbs of onions, finely minced and scalded for three minutes in boiling water then dried
  • butter
  • béchamel or white sauce
  • cream
  • salt
  • pinch of sugar
  • hard-boiled eggs, cut in half, yolks removed
  • buttered toast or fried bread
  1. fry the minced, scalded, dried onions in butter with the lid on until soft
  2. add the white/béchamel sauce
  3. add salt and sugar, cook gently for half an hour
  4. rub through a sieve and stir in cream
  5. add the egg yolks and stir in well
  6. fill the half eggs with sauce, piling up as much as you can
  7. place on the toast/fried bread and brown under the grill

This may seem an awful lot of trouble, but in the days when maybe you only had a few inexpensive ingredients, then this would probably be tasty and different from the normal fare.

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