Making Toad in the Hole
Someone should really explain to me why this dish is named the way it is, because I really don’t see how sausages could ever be thought of as toads. Am I missing something here? or is there a baffling history to its name? Either way, I’m curious. I’ve always thought that toad in the hole is the same as frog in the hole, but apparently frog in the hole is synonym to eggs in the basket. It’s all very mindboggling, I tell you. There should be a food nomenclature where people must abide by a rule to stick with naming a dish with the actual components of it, and in this case, of browned sausages submerged in a Yorkshire pudding batter and then baked into puffy perfection in a very hot oven. Here’s a recipe for it, with minor adjustments to the method just to make sure the batter actually rises (I’ve had a couple of hits and misses when it comes to Yorkshire pudding (or popovers, whichever you call it), so here’s putting those lessons learned to good use). Run with it to the table and serve, because the puffiness does not hang around for long.
TOAD IN THE HOLE (recipe from Simply Recipes):
[ 1 cup of all purpose flour + 2 eggs, beaten + 3/4 - 1 cup milk + 1 1/2 tablespoon melted butter + 2 tablespoon vegetable oil + 1 lb sausages, or 2 sausages per person ] OPTIONAL: a handful of cherry tomatoes + smoked beef slices or bacon + dried herbs.
A traditional way of making the batter is to make a well inside the flour and cracking the eggs into them before incorporating the milk in to make a smooth batter.
We’re going to do the reverse, since we’re such wicked free thinkers…and because it also makes a lighter batter and a much more foolproof Yorkshire pudding. So, we are going to:
Whisk the egg and milk in a large bowl until a bit frothy
Add in the flour a bit at a time and keep whisking until a smooth batter is formed (add more milk if the batter looks too thick).
Let the batter sit for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, coat the bottom and sides of an 8x12 or 9x9 casserole dish (or any other vessel for your toad in the hole) with vegetable oil.
Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Put the empty dish on the rack. Preheat the oven with the dish in it to 425°F.
While the oven is coming to temperature, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet on medium high.
Add the sausages (I wrapped mine in smoked beef slices, go for bacon if you wish) and brown them in the skiller. Add in the cherry tomatoes, if using.
When the sausages have browned and the dish in the oven is hot, pull the oven rack out a bit.
Put the sausages (and tomatoes) in the casserole dish (I just used the skillet and pour the batter right in before putting it in the oven) and pour the batter over the sausages. Scatter the herbs on top, if using.
Cook for about 20-30 minutes or until the batter is risen and golden.
Serve on its own or with some quick stovetop caramelized shallot gravy, like the one below:
CARAMELIZED SHALLOT GRAVY:
[ 3 tablespoons butter + 1 1/2 cups freshly peeled, sliced shallots + 1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce + 1 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour + 1 cup stock (beef, chicken etc) + salt and freshly ground pepper to taste ] OPTIONAL: Cubed bacon or smoked meat.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over a medium burner. When the butter is foamy, add the sliced shallots, and stir to coat well.
Cook for approximately 20 minutes, stirring often.
When the shallots begin to brown at the edges, stir carefully and often against the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release the caramelized juices.
If the shallots begin to stick, add a tablespoon of water as necessary to dissolve the caramel.
When the shallots are deep honey brown color, transfer to a bowl to cool.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoon of butter and add the bacon or smoked meat if using. When the fat is hot, sprinkle the flour over, and stir constantly with a wooden spoon for about one minute.
Turn off the burner, add the worchestershire sauce and stock, then stir carefully with a wire whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Return the pan to a medium burner. Continue to whisk, and stir until thickened.
Stir in the caramelized shallots with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper, and bring the pan back to a simmer over medium heat. Skim away any fat or foam that comes to the surface. Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the pot bubbling gently for 10 minutes.
Serve the toad in the hole with the gravy and the requisite roasted vegetables.
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