Toad in the hole

21 03 2010

Last Wednesday I came in from work and was at a complete loose end as to what to make for tea; the cupboards and fridge were looking rather sparse and I was only a few minutes away from reaching from the dreaded stack of take-away menues when I was hit with a bolt of inspiration and decided to cook up one of my absolute favourites from childhood, Toad in the Hole.

I know that many people have many different ways of making this British classic but here is mine, stolen from my dear old mum’s cookery book, it certainly won’t make you thin but it will put a smile on your face.

To make enough to feed 4 people or two greedy ones you will need the following ingredients:

For the Toad in the Hole

100g Plain Flour

1 large egg

150 ml milk & 150 ml water

8 rashers of good quality unsmoked bacon

8 good quality pork sausages (cumberland sausages work very well in this dish)

1 onion thinly sliced

vegetable oil

For the Onion Gravy

1 onion thinly sliced

2tsp English mustard

2tsp plain flour

2tsp Worcestershire sauce (dark soy sauce if you can’t get Worcestershire sauce)

2tsp Vegetable oil

600ml of chicken stock ( vegetable stock also works if you prefer)

Method.

1.Preheat the oven to fan 200C/conventional 220C/ gas 7. Sift the flour and a make a well in the centre and crack in the egg. Beat lightly,then gradually pour in half the milk and water, beating all the time to form a smooth,thick batter. Continue for 2 minutes,then stir in the remaining liquid. (The batter can be made several hours ahead of time, however despite many people ascertations this is not needed.)

2.Wrap a bacon rasher around each sausage then put them, spaced apart, in a large roasting tin (preferably metal). Scatter over the onion and drizzle with oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the bacon and sausages are starting to colour and the onion is tinged brown at the edges.

3.Remove from the oven and quickly pour the batter over the sausages. Return to the oven for a further 35-40 minutes until the batter is crisp and well risen.

4.Meanwhile,make the gravy. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan, add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes or so until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute or until the flour has cooked out fully. Add the mustard, Worcestershire or soy sauce and stock and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 15 minutes, then taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.

Toad in the Hole is best eaten with mounds of fluffly mash potatoes and plenty of the onion gravy, enjoy!

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