Toad in the hole is such comfort food, thrifty too. How mean would it look if you were served up with two and a half chipolatas for your tea as an adult? It would be ridiculously mean but when cooked with the batter, it makes a dish suitable for Sunday lunch out of the cheapest of things.
I have no idea why it's called Toad in the Hole, nothing to do with toads. Normally it's a dish of sausages and batter, sometimes chicken or bacon is also put in but this is much less common than the traditional dish.
My son loved this. Admittedly he picked out the sausages and ate them first then moved onto the batter (all eaten with ketchup) but as he was also eating the broccoli, I felt ok with the whole thing.
I'm not 100% happy with how the toad in the hole looked, I think part of the problem was I poured the batter over the sausages but gosh, darn it, it tasted fantastic! How can flour, milk and eggs taste soooo gooood?!!
Might be an option for you baby led weaners out there to serve some of the vegetables and batter. For younger toddlers, I'd cut up the sausages for them before serving as it's a common food for wee ones to choke on.
Toad in the Hole - serves 2 adults and a toddler with seconds (could serve 3-4 adults)
10 Chipolata Sausages
1 Generous tbsp Duck Fat (optional, see below) or use Vegetable Oil
130g, 4.5oz, 1 cup, Plain (all purpose) flour
150ml, quarter pint, 2/3 cup Semi skimmed milk (2% fat)
1 tsp Mild French Mustard
Onion Gravy (optional)
1 onion, sliced
15g, 1/2 oz butter
200ml, 1/3 pint, 3/4 cup Beef Stock (use low salt if giving to babies)
2 tbsp Red Wine (omit if liked but you do bubble off all the alcohol)
1 tsp Mild French Mustard
1-2 tsp Cornflour (cornstarch) to thicken
Heat the oven to 220oC / 200oC (Fan) / 400F / Gas Mark 7 and put a baking dish in the oven with the fat in it. Mine is 22cm (8.5 inch) square. Dry fry the sausages in a non stick frying pan until lightly browned. The observant of you will notice I had 12, I couldn't fit them all in the dish later! Oops! Also I realised I didn't need so many so I will definitely stick to no more than 10 next time.
In the meantime, fry the onions in the butter very slowly with a lid on it on a gentle heat until meltingly golden and brown.
While the onions are frying, make the batter by whisking the eggs and milk into the flour with the mustard. Once fully mixed in, leave to rest. If you don't feel confident about this, use an electric mixer, it's guaranteed to be 100% lump free. Add a bit more milk in if liked, it should be the consistency of thin cream.
Once the oven is hot and the fat is REALLY hot (be careful... this is the secret, if the fat's not hot, leave it for longer). Put the sausages in the dish followed by the batter mix. Return to the oven for 25-30 minutes or until it's all fully cooked through (check the batter and the sausages. DO NOT use thick sausages for this unless you fully cook them first as they won't cook through in the time.)
While the toad in the hole is cooking and once the onions are softened and brown (this may take 20 mins, keep an eye on them), add in the wine and allow to bubble, followed by the hot stock. Bubble for about 10 minutes. Mix the cornflour with cold water to make a paste then add to the gravy mixing all of the time. Once thickened add in the mustard and then strain out the onions (optional). You can leave the onions in but I love the sweet onion flavour without the stringiness. I push the onions through a sieve to get maximum taste out of them. Might sound crazy but it makes a lovely smooth gravy.
Ok, duck fat. What on earth am I doing using duck fat? Well I had some in the freezer from a roast duck I cooked a few weeks before and I thought it would be nice. Yes it might sound expensive but actually, when you think about it, it was actually free...! Did lend a lovely flavour to it but oil does just fine.