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Toad in the Hole with Red Onion Gravy

January 6, 2011

Here’s another treat from my Hobbit Day project. In fact, it was the most surprising meal of the day. I had never made or eaten Toad in the Hole before, and I still think it looks kind of gross, so I was shocked at how delicious something so basic can be. I shouldn’t have been so surprised; it has the same appeal as the great American corn-dog: tastiness with no frills.

The main flavor in this recipe comes from sausage itself, so it is important to pick a sausage you really like. Unlike most American sausages, which are smoked, British sausages are usually raw and a little less overwhelmed with spices. I wish there was a more creative way to describe it, but it makes them taste more like regular meat, which means there is a bigger gap between a good sausage and a bad one.

I’ve had a couple bad ones, and smelled some truly awful ones at a Christmas fair back in December, but the good ones are really delicious.

The big surprise in this was the Yorkshire pudding, which crawls like the blob up the side of the pan to form a bowl of fried bread. I can imagine the first person who discovered this thinking it was some sort of witchcraft. The result is a texture similar to a waffle: crunchy on the outside, airy on the inside.

I decided to make a Delia Smith recipe, which suggested an onion gravy. Slice up a couple of red onions and saute them very slowly over low heat for about an hour.

Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour, stir in and cook for a minute.

Add water or stock until you like the consistency, along with some prepared mustard, salt and pepper. It’s yummy just like this or you can puree it for a smoother texture.

On to the actual meal! Preheat an oven to 425°F/220°C and mix up the batter. I was surprised how simple this batter is, just flour, egg, milk, a pinch of thyme, salt and pepper. Just toss it in a bowl and mix.

When the oven is fully hot, bake the sausages in a small roasting pan (9×6 would be perfect) and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning once, until the sausage is slightly brown.

There should be a good bit of oil rendered from the sausages. If not, add a tablespoon of searing hot vegetable oil. The oil needs to be hot when you pour the batter in. The heat awakens the magic dough monster, forcing it to crawl up the sides of the pan to escape – or something.

Put it back in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the edges are brown. My relationship with my oven is a work in progress, so one side of my pudding got a lot crispier than the other.

Serve with the gravy and some extra mustard for dipping, along with coffee in the morning or beer in the evening.

Toad in the Hole

Recipe from Delia Smith
Serves 2

¾ Cup and 2 Tablespoons (3 oz) Flour
5 Tablespoons (75 mL) milk
1 egg
pinch of dried thyme
¼ tsp each salt and pepper
4 fresh sausages

1. Preheat oven to 425°F/220°C.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, milk, egg, thyme, salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Bake sausages in a small baking pan (9″x6″) for 10-15 minutes, turning once or twice, until the sausages are lightly browned.
4. There should a tablespoon or two of hot oil rendered from the sausages. If not, add a tablespoon of searing hot vegetable oil.
5. Pour batter into hot oil around the sausages. Return to the oven and bake until the edges are brown and crispy, about 20 minutes.
6. Enjoy with red onion gravy and mustard.

Red Onion Gravy

Makes a little less than a cup

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons flour
½ cup water or stock
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
salt and pepper to taste

1. Saute onions in olive oil over very low heat for about an hour, unitl onions are very soft.
2. Turn heat up to medium. Add flour and stir for one minute.
3. Add water, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until gravy reaches the desired thickness. Add more flour or water as needed.
4. Enjoy the gravy as-is or puree in a food processor for a smoother texture.

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