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Toad in the Hole

4 main  
2+ hrs  
This dish, Yorkshire pudding with meat, got a bad rap from people making it from leftovers. The earliest mention, about 1860, has it made with beefsteak and/or beef kidneys, but today it is properly made with sausages - either in a baking dish or individual servings made in a muffin pan. See Note-5 for more history. Alt: One Eyed Jack is called "Toad in a Hole" by some people.


Sausages (1)
Flour, regular
Fat (2)
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C (no hotter).
  2. Whip together Eggs, Milk, Salt and Pepper. Let stand for 10 minutes or so.
  3. Slowly sift in the Flour, whipping continuously until you have a batter in consistency similar to heavy cream. If there are any lumps run it through a strainer.
  4. Leave the batter to rest for more than 30 minutes - up to several hours.
  5. Pierce SAUSAGES all over and fry slowly in some Fat until cooked through and nicely browned - or see Note-3.
  6. Coat your baking pan/dish well with Fat and arrange Sausages in it.
  7. IF your baking pan/dish is metal or ceramic, put it in the oven until thoroughly hot. Bring it out and pour the Batter over the sausages. Return immediately to the oven.
  8. IF your baking dish is Pyrex, better to just get it nice and warm. Pyrex is tough, but cold batter in a very hot dish can shatter it. Pour the Batter over the sausages and slide immediately into the oven.
  9. Bake 20 minutes or until the batter has risen well and is nicely browned. See Note-4 for further details.
  10. Cut between each sausage, scoop out and serve immediately. Traditionally toad in the hole is accompanied with plain brown or onion gravy and a vegetable. Actually I rather enjoy it plain as a cold snack, sliced across the sausages.
  1. Sausages:   A good quality, flavorful sausage is needed - English, German bratwurst or mild Italian are all fine.
  2. Fat:   Rendered fats (drippings) from roasts (beef, mutton or pork) or bacon are traditional. AHA campaigns have caused people to shy away from these, but medical opinion has been shifting back to natural fats and away from industrially refined vegetable oils - but Pure Olive Oil (not virgin) is fine too if you prefer.
  3. Roasting:   If your pan is suitable, the sausages can be roasted in the oven right in the pan. This works with either a large single pan or with pieces of sausage in the cups of a muffin pan for individual size toads (large cups, at least 3 inches are best).
  4. Method:   Most photos you'll see of toad in hole the differ from mine, showing the sausages more exposed, spaced farther apart and the pudding higher around the edges. This is because the batter doesn't rise near the sausages. In my example the sausages fit rather closely in the dish, so batter flowed over them deep enough to rise in the middle.
  5. History:   Why "Toad in the Hole"? Food writers have long puzzled over this without resolution - but a good explanation is close at hand. Around 1850 - 1860, when this name first appeared, the English public was in the grips of a craze regarding live toads. They were reportedly found in holes deep within impenetrable rock where they supposedly survived for hundreds or even thousands of years. It's just another recipe named for a popular theme of its day. The dish may predate the name because Yorkshire pudding had been made since at least 1737 - adding a bit of meat to it isn't much of a stretch.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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