Good God I love silly sounding British foods. Spotted Dick. Bubble & Squeak. Welsh Rarebit. Faggots. Ha. All ludicrous but usually one of the most delicious, filling dishes you could ever have. None more so than good ol’ toad-in-the-hole. Alas no toads, and not many holes, but a gorgeous batter smothering your choice of banger. Ahem. Sausages.
I’m going to be lazy with this post because I can, and because the original recipe cannot be beat. Jamie Oliver has been getting a lot of press lately back home, and rightfully so. He’s leading the charge on reducing childhood obesity in the UK, calling out brands and councils who are putting profits over people’s health. I salute his humanitarian work as well as his cooking. In fact, if I really think about it, he was the first chef that made me sit up and take notice of food and recipes, and introduced fun to cooking.
Ladies, Gents…I give you Jamie Oliver’s Toad-in-the-Hole.
8 LARGE, HIGH QUALITY PORK SAUSAGES
4 SPRIGS OF ROSEMARY
2 LARGE RED ONIONS
2 CLOVES OF GARLIC
2 KNOBS OF UNSALTED BUTTER
6 TABLESPOONS OF BALSAMIC VINEGAR
1 STOCK CUBE
115g PLAIN FLOUR
3 LARGE FREE-RANGE EGGS
- Mix the batter ingredients together with a pinch of sea salt, and put to one side. I like the batter to go huge so the key thing is to have an appropriately-sized baking tin – the thinner the better – as we need to get the oil smoking hot.
- Put 1cm of sunflower oil into a baking tin, then place on the middle shelf of your oven at its highest setting (240–250ºC/475ºF/gas 9). Place a larger tray underneath it to catch any oil that overflows from the tin while cooking.
- When the oil is very hot, add the sausages – keep an eye on them and allow them to colour until lightly golden.
- At this point, take the tin out of the oven, being very careful, and pour the batter over the sausages. Throw a couple of sprigs of rosemary into the batter.
- It will bubble and possibly even spit a little, so carefully put the tin back in the oven, and close the door. Don’t open it for at least 20 minutes, as Yorkshire puddings can be a bit temperamental when rising. Remove from the oven when golden and crisp.
- For the onion gravy, peel and finely slice the onions and garlic, then simply fry off in the butter on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they go sweet and translucent. You could add a little thyme or rosemary here, if you like. Add the balsamic vinegar and allow it to cook down by half.
- At this point, I do cheat a little and add a stock cube or powder. You can get some good ones in the supermarkets now that aren’t full of rubbish. Sprinkle this in and add a little water. Allow to simmer and you’ll have a really tasty onion gravy.
- Serve at the table with the Toad in the Hole, mashed potatoes, greens and baked beans or maybe a green salad if you’re feeling a little guilty!