Toad in the hole needs no explanation to any British person, but this simple dish combines two of my all time favorite things: sausages and yorkshire pudding. Toad in the hole is really just one large yorkshire pudding with sausages sleeping peacefully within the crispy batter. My father in-law, Johnny, was a huge fan of yorkshire puddings and would go great lengths to have them served with every meal.
This is such a simple dish that does not need to fancied up in any way whatsoever, but I like the addition of mustard to the batter as it goes ever so well with the sausages. I also urge you to follow a few key tips when embarking on your own Toad. Let us begin with the sausages. Start with great, not good, sausages. Please, please, please find a good local butcher. Herby pork sausages are best, but find one that you like and play around with it.
For secrets of successful yorkshire puddings, I refer to Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall's The Good Granny Cookbook. (1) Use half milk and half water rather than all milk, (2) let the batter rest for half an hour, and (3) have the oil or fat really hot before you put the batter in. If you follow these rules, your pudding will always rise and it will be puffed and golden brown. I prefer a larger batter ratio to my sausages, so make this in a wide dish to give plenty of room for the batter to work its' magic around the pork.
Finally, make a great onion gravy to go with this and whoever you are serving this to will look at you with weepy eyes as they shovel forkful after forkful into their mouth. In England, instant gravy, such as Bisto, is rather popular. DO NOT even think about it. Remove it from your cupboard and never speak of it again.
If you're going to make this for two people, just use four sausages. For four people, you can add two more sausages and use the same amount of batter.
You can also remove the skin from the sausages and wrap them in a slice of prosciutto which is a delicious addition.
Toad in the Hole with Onion & Madeira Gravy
Adapted from Nigel Slater's Real Food
4-6 pork sausages
3 tablespoons of olive oil (you can also use dripping or lard)
2 free range eggs
1 cup of plain or all purpose flour
1 tbsp grain mustard
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup water
salt and pepper
For the gravy:
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tbsp flour
1 cup stock
5 tbsp butter
1/3 cup Madeira, Marsala or red wine
You may want to get your onions on the go before you start the sausages. See below.
Preheat your oven to 425F.
Start by mixing the batter. Mix the eggs, flour, milk, mustard and some salt and pepper together with a whisk. Beat the lumps out as you go. The consistency should be like thick cream and no thinner, so you may want to add the milk and water mixture together with the flour a little at a time.
Let it sit for at least 15 minutes.
Prepare your sausages, wrapping them in prosciutto or leaving them as they are. Put the olive oil in your baking pan or tin and pop it in the oven until it is smoking. When you're batter has finished resting, pour it into the hot fat and arrange the sausages in it. Bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden.
To make the gravy, melt the butter in a heavy based pan and add the onions. Cook over low heat until golden and soft. Then cover with a lid and continue cooking until they are brown and soft enough to crush between your fingers.
Stir in the tablespoon of flour and cook for a few minutes until it's lightly browned, then pour in the liquids. Season with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down, letting it bubble gently for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Serve with your Toad in the Hole!