This is not a recipe I make very often, but it's one of those meals I loved during childhood. I've never really had a problem making it, except last time, when my oven wasn't great. This weekend, I had some chipolatas to use up and decided I'd give it a try with them. Not the healthiest of meals by any stretch, but for me, definitely comfort food. So as to not be disappointed like last time, I went about things slightly differently.
For one thing, I used a much better oven, and took a lot more care over the batter mix (sifted the flour, and whisked rather than blended it). I also spent longer over making the onion gravy, getting the onions really browned and cooking that bit longer.
The Batter Mix was modified after reading Nigel Slater's recipe as the idea of adding Wholegrain Mustard to it sounded appealing, although peeling the sausages and wrapping them in thinly sliced ham seemed to be taking it a little too far, especially considering the sausages I was using.
All in all, it came out pretty nicely I think. The gravy was especially nice, and definitely worth the additional time I spent on browning the Onions well.
Recipe for the Browned Onion Gravy
- 2 Large Onions, finely sliced
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 2 Tablespoons Plain Flour
- 2 Tablespoons Worcester Sauce
- 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- 1 Pint Swiss Marigold Vegetable Stock
- 1 Glass Red Wine
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Browning the Onions nicely takes a while, so I started making the Gravy before making the Toad in the Hole, then reheated when everything was ready. Using a large heavy based pan (with a lid), melt the butter at a fairly low heat and add the sliced Onion. Continue to cook uncovered until they turn golden, then cover and continue to cook at a low heat until they go brown. Covering them keeps in the moisture so that they can caramelize nicely without drying out.
Once they are nicely browned, add the flour and stir into the onions. Then stir in the mustard and start adding the liquid ingredients. Gently bring to the boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally for about another 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Recipe for the Toad in the Hole
- 454g Sausages (preferably nice Lincolnshire or Cumberland)
- 4 Rashers Smoked Bacon, cubed
- 1 Cup Plain Flour
- 2/3 Cup Milk
- 2/3 Cup Cold Water
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Teaspoons Wholegrain Mustard
- Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Preheat the oven to 230 degrees Celsius, put the sausages and bacon into your roasting tin/dish and cook for 10 minutes. At this point, you can sift the flour and mix together the ingredients for the Batter. Whisk until you have a smooth batter with no lumps except for the grains from the Mustard and there is a layer of fine bubbles on the top.
Remove the sausages from the dish, leaving the fat which has come out from them, add a little more oil so that you have about 4 tablespoons in total, then return to the oven until the oil is smoking. Depending on what you're using to cook it in, you could do this directly on a stove. Once it is really hot, pour in the batter, then add the Sausages and Bacon and put straight in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, so that the Batter has risen nicely and is golden brown.
Serve immediately, with Mash Potato and some other vegetables, and, of course, the Onion Gravy.