This is a well-known British dish, which is a pub classic. It’s made by baking sausages in a Yorkshire pudding batter, and is traditionally served with mashed potatoes and onion gravy.
Funny enough, during the 29 years of my life in England, I never ate toad in the hole. However, something flicked one day and I really wanted to try toad it. I mean, I like sausages and I like Yorkshire puddings. I didn’t see that putting them together would create something I’d dislike.
The resulting dish is wonderful. The batter around the sausages is light, crisp and airy. It’s perfect to dab in gravy. Today we enjoyed it with mashed kabocha squash and onion gravy. The sausages in this version were a little darker than I’d hoped. This was because I par-grilled them slightly before baking them in batter. I will forego this step the next time I make it.
There are a few tricks to make a light, crisp and airy toad in the hole. Firstly, beat the batter for a decent amount of time. Secondly, make sure the oil is really hot before pouring in the batter. Thirdly, return the dish back into the oven as soon as possible. Lastly, do not open the oven door whilst baking, otherwise it will deflate.
The best thing about this recipe is that it’s dairy-free and you can use the sausages of your choice, whether your favorite is pork, chicken, beef, venison, turkey or vegetable. Just make sure you use premium quality sausages for the best texture (and check for allergens if you’re dairy-free). I grew up with instant gravy, but that’s no longer my cuppa tea, so I’ve included a homemade onion gravy to the recipe.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I’ve played around with varying amounts of batter and different sized dishes to get the right lift and sausage:batter ratio. This recipe is for the specific dish stated and to my liking. Feel free to play around with the amounts and dishes, if you desire. Also, you may want to double the gravy recipe if you like to drown the toad.
TOAD IN THE HOLE WITH ONION GRAVY
For the toad in the hole
- 4 thick sausages of your choice*, lightly grilled if you like the sausages a little darker
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 150 g (1 c) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 180 ml (¾ c) soy milk**
- 50 ml (3 ⅓ tablespoons) water
- salt and pepper to taste
For the onion gravy (makes about 400 ml , 1 ⅔ c)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour mixed with 250 ml (1 c and 2 teaspoons) water or salt-free stock
- 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 pinch sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
* I used chicken sausages. If you’re dairy-free, make sure you check the allergen listing on the packaging.
** Other milk alternative or mammalian milk can be used if not dairy-free.
1. Preheat oven to 250°C (485°F).
2. Pour oil into a 25x20cm (9.5×7.5 inch) baking dish. Place in the middle of the oven until the oil gets really hot, about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Blend milk, water, eggs, flour and seasonings in a liquidizer for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can use a bowl and a hand (immersion) blender. Set aside.
4. Just before removing the baking dish from the oven, blend the batter one more time for 10-15 seconds.
5. Remove baking dish from hot oven using oven mitts. Swirl the hot oil around the base of the dish, then quickly pour in the batter.
6. Arrange the sausages on top and quickly return to the oven. Bake for 15 minutes – remember don’t open the door.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 220°C (430°F) and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until golden brown and puffy.
8. Meanwhile make the gravy. Heat oil in a medium-sized, non-stick frying pan over medium high heat until hot. Saute onion until translucent, about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Add flour and water/stock mixture to the pan and stir until thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Add dark soy sauce, sugar and salt and pepper.
10. Transfer the gravy into a liquidizer and blend until smooth. Return to the pan, adjust seasonings if required and keep warm until the toad in the hole is ready.
11. Remove toad in the hole from the oven, slice and serve with mashed potatoes and onion gravy. Enjoy!