When we were kids growing up in London my mum used to make Toad in the Hole all the time – I suppose it was a very economical way of cooking for a big family and ensuring bellies were full. It is very much an old traditional English dish and I don’t recall ever hearing anyone mention it here in Ireland. I only recently starting making this for my own family and I really don’t know why it took me so long – we’re big fans of Yorkshire Puddings and sausages so what could be better than a dish made of both? You can fancy it up a little by smearing the sausages in Dijon mustard before adding to the batter, or by using fancy sausages, or perhaps you could maybe play around by adding some herbs to the batter. We like ours served with lashings of onion gravy – the more mopping up the better!
To serve 4:
8 sausages – nice fat ones preferably
2 tablespoons of goose fat (or sunflower/rapeseed oil if you prefer)
120g plain flour
large pinch of salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200ºC and place an oven-proof dish in to heat.
Make the batter by sieving the flour in to a large bowl. Add a large pinch of salt and generous grind of black pepper. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add in the egg and 100mls of the milk and mix using a balloon whisk, drawing the flour down from the side of the bowl, until the mix is really smooth – and then continue whisking for around 5 minutes more. Once you are sure you have a really smooth batter add in the rest of the milk and whisk to combine, then leave to one side.
Place half a tablespoon of fat in a frying pan on medium heat and then fry the sausages until lightly golden – my tip here is to only cook the sausages on three sides leaving one side uncooked – this means that they won’t over-colour when baked in the oven and will also ensure that the sides of the sausage that are submerged in batter also have good colour. Remove the sausages from the pan and place to one side on kitchen paper.
Now place the remaining goose fat in to the oven dish and allow to heat until really really hot (almost smoking). This shouldn’t take too long as the dish will already be quite hot. Remove the dish from the oven again and carefully pour the batter in to the hot fat. Then one by one place the sausages cooked sides down in to the batter.
Place carefully back in to the oven, ensuring that the sausages don’t roll around, and bake for around 30 minutes. The batter should rise, be nice and crunchy and a deep golden colour.
This is the same batter mix that I use for a Sunday roast and makes lovely light fluffy Yorkshires. I use a muffin tray and ladle an equal amount in to each lightly greased well.