‘Toad in the Hole’ is a well-known and traditional British dish that dates right back to the 18th century. Today the dish consists of thick meaty sausages served in a light and crispy Yorkshire pudding, it is one of the ultimate comfort foods and makes a filling and economical meal.
No one seems to be able to come up with the origin of the unusual name that this dish has, and toads have NEVER been part of any recipe for it in fact it was though that the original idea was a way of stretching out meats ( not just sausages but any meats) to make the family budget go further! The most common thought behind the name is that originally pieces of sausage meat rather than sausages were used in the dish and the pieces of sausage meat looked rather like little toads sticking their heads out of the crispy pudding.
The Toad in the hole is a really versatile dish and can still be made using leftovers from the Sunday roast instead of sausages, vegetarians can also enjoy this delicious dish by substituting meatless ‘sausages’ – the choice is completely up to you, in fact in war times, clever housewives managed to use ‘Spam’ in the dish as an alternative to the humble’ banger’- our war time mums were a resourceful bunch!
You will find many recipes and ideas for making this good old fashioned family favourite, but I would like to share the recipe that has been passed down the generations in my family and is always really enjoyed. The resulting dish is a feast of flavours and textures – with the thick meaty sausages, soft caramelized onions and crisp light batter that is infused with the fat and flavours from the sausages. Served with a few boiled potatoes, some vegetables and covered in rich onion gravy this is sheer heaven on a plate – but at a price that won’t break the bank. This recipe also gives you a few tips on how to make the perfect Toad in the Hole.
GOOD OLD TOAD IN THE HOLE
Serves 2 hungry people
6 pork sausages – it is important to choose a really good quality sausage for the best results – I always use pork but any flavour or type can be used
A little vegetable oil (or if you want to be really traditional and naughty use good beef dripping!)
1 large onion thinly sliced
75g grams plain flour
75ml milk (for best results use skimmed or semi skimmed rather than full fat milk)
50ml cold water
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 230 C / 450 F / Gas 8 it is really important to have a good hot oven for the best results.
2. Put sausages and oil/dripping into a baking dish and cook for 10 minutes.
3. To make batter, add the seasoning to the beaten egg in a small bowl or jug and whisk.
4. Add the flour, milk and water – whisk together well.
5. Fry the onions until soft.
6. Take dish out of oven and add onions, pour over the batter (the dish needs to be piping hot with really hot oil or fat.
7. Cook for 20 minutes until you have the perfectly risen lights and golden brown Toad in the Hole.
You may leave the onions out or add herbs of your choice to this recipe.
I do hope you enjoy this old family recipe, I’m sure that you will, and I doubt that you will make it only once!