My granny knew a thing or two about cooking and one of the best things she passed on to me was her toad in the hole recipe (and her Yorkshire Brack cake recipe too…). Any Brit worth their salt knows and loves toad in the hole as a good old school dinner favourite – it’s comfort food par excellence. Well it is when it’s well cooked…
So, it might still be August (only just) but it’s hissing down with rain, the temperature has plummeted here in less than sunny Yorkshire and some hearty food is called for! Bring on the sausages – yay!
The perfect sausage for this toad in the hole recipe?
There’s lots of debate about the best type of sausages to use for toad in the hole (or toad in’t hole as they say here in Yorkshire). Some like to use skinless sausages, but I think they are the work of the devil – you never quite know what’s in them! From a very long process of testing (the teen is the ultimate sausage connoisseur) our view is that a good tasty, but not spicy traditional British sausage is the best option for a superior toad in the hole. I favour a good quality Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausage. Anything too spicy or exotic will overpower the delicate flavour of the batter, making it seem bland by comparison.
One of the reasons for its lasting popularity it that toad in the hole is a fabulously filling and frugal dish. With the right amount of batter, and lashings of good gravy, you can almost get away with one serving of sausage per person. I say almost, as I’m feeding a rugby playing teenage boy who would probably have beaten Henry the Eighth in a ‘who’ll eat all the pies’ competition…
The perfect batter!
Sausages apart, the key element to a good toad in the hole is the batter! Some like to make this with all milk (ugh – all soft and doughy), some use water for a crispy batter (not flavoursome enough), while others use beer (hic!). I favour a milk and beer combination which does of course leave some in the bottle for a cheeky drink. It makes a tasty, light batter with a satisfying crunch too!
The trick is to make the batter in advance and to leave it to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes before using it. Granny said it made the batter thicker and richer, and having made this dish many times, I have to agree. The other trick to getting a perfect toad in the hole batter is to make sure the fat is smokin’ hot! And the fat needs to be lard or beef dripping – step away from the olive oil!
The secret ingredient…
Granny always added a dash of mustard to her batter, for a little extra flavour. I favour a good whole grain mustard for the extra punch it gives. Strong English mustard is good too but forget all about the anodyne ‘Dijon’ type mustard – yuk!
Finally, there’s the age-old question of sausages first or batter? Having experimented with both, I have to admit that Granny was right! Batter first is the only way to go – unless you like your toad in the hole with a soggy bottom! No thank you!
This toad in the hole recipe will serve 4 people (less if you’re feeding ravenous teenage boys!)
Tasty and filling toad in the hole - the ultimate frugal belly-filler for a cold day|!
- 8 Good quality sausages
- 3 tbsp lard/beef dripping
- 3 medium eggs
- 6 oz plain flour
- 4 fl oz whole milk
- 4 fl oz ale
- 1 1/2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Preheat the oven to 220C
Brown the sausages in a heavy based pan, with 1 tbsp of the lard. Turn regularly to ensure they brown evenly and don't burn. Set aside once brown
While the sausages are cooking, add the flour, milk, beer, eggs and mustard to a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
Place the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes, to allow the batter to rest
As the batter rests, add the remaining lard and the cooking fat from the sausages to a large ovenproof dish, and place the dish in the oven
Once the batter is ready, remove the dish from the oven (carefully as it will be very hot!)
Pour the batter into the dish (it should sizzle when it hits the dish) and quickly add the sausages, then return the dish to the oven
Cook for about 35 minutes, until the batter is risen and golden
Serve immediately with fresh veggies and lashings of homemade gravy
Are you going to try out this toad in the hole recipe? Please leave a comment to let me know and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #coraliecooks on Instagram so I can see. I LOVE seeing what you come up with.