Over the years, I have seen a lot of references to a British dish called Toad in the Hole. Like Figgy Pudding or Spotted Dick – or any number of English recipes – the name belies the actual dish.

We’ve been watching a lot of BritBox and other British shows, lately, and after getting all of our sausages the other day, decided it was time to make a Toad in the Hole – the ultimate in non-Italian sausage dinner.

I found several recipes on BBC.com and took the better parts of two to make the dish – one for the actual dish and another for the requisite onion gravy. One of the interesting factoids about the dish is it traces it’s roots back to the 1700s. I decided to mess with 300 years of tradition and add peas to my batter. Stick with tradition. Don’t do as I did. It won’t puff and rise as it should.

But the dish itself was pretty good!

Toad in the Hole

For the toad in the hole

  • 1 large cup plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup free-range eggs
  • 1 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 125g/4oz beef dripping (you can substitute with vegetable oil)
  • 6 just cooked top quality sausage

For the gravy:

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 150ml/5fl oz dark ale or beer
  • 250ml/9fl oz beef stock
  • 50g/2oz cold butter, cut into cubes

To make the toad in the hole:

Whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, malt vinegar, and salt, beating out any little lumps of flour. The consistency should be about that of ordinary double cream, but no thinner. Rest for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.

Put the dripping or lard in a roasting tin and leave it in the oven until it is smoking.

Pour in the batter – it will sizzle softly in the hot fat – then arrange the sausages in the batter.

Transfer the tin back into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with onion gravy.

To make the gravyL

Whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, mustard and seasoning, beating out any little lumps of flour. The consistency should be about that of ordinary double cream, but no thinner. Rest for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.

Carefully remove the skin from each of the sausages. Wrap each piece of skinned sausage meat in a piece of cured ham.

Put the dripping or lard in a roasting tin and leave it in the oven until it is smoking.

Pour in the batter – it will sizzle softly in the hot fat – then arrange the sausages in the batter.

Transfer the tin back into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with brown onion and madeira grany.

To make the gravy:

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions until soft.

Add the sugar and tomato purée and cook for five minutes.

Add the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ale and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for 25 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the butter a little at a time, whisking to combine to make a glossy sauce.

Remove the toad in the holes from the oven and divide onto plates. Pour over a generous amount of gravy and serve.

Adding the peas to the batter kept it from rising to its full potential – but… It still worked. I think the batter could use any number of different flavorings – different herbs and spices to compliment different types of sausages – but the onion gravy is a must! It made the dish.

For a first time, it wasn’t bad, at all, and it’s given me some ideas for the future.

 

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