Herby toad in the hole

Herby toad in the hole is a traditional British dish consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and onion gravy. The origin of the name “Toad-in-the-Hole” is often disputed. Many suggestions are that the dish’s resemblance to a toad sticking its head out of a hole provides the dish with its somewhat unusual name. It is rumoured to have been called “Frog-in-the-Hole” in the past, although little evidence exists to support this theory. It has also been referred to as “sausage toad”. An 1861 recipe by Charles Elme Francatelli does not mention sausages, instead including as an ingredient “6d. or 1s. worth of bits and pieces of any kind of meat, which are to be had cheapest at night when the day’s sale is over.” The recipe itself is rather simple but requires some skill to cook perfectly. Herby toad in the hole is normally accompanied by gravy (often onion gravy), vegetables and potatoes, often mashed.

INGREDIENTSherby toad in the hole
140g plain flour
3 eggs
300ml milk
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 sausages
8 sage leaves
4 rosemary sprigs

DIRECTIONS
Heat oven to 240°C/220°C fan/gas 9. In a food processor, combine the flour, eggs, milk, mustard and some salt and pepper, blitz until smooth, then leave to rest for 30 mins. Pour the oil into a metal roasting tin about 30 x 23cm and 7.5cm deep. Brush the oil all over the sides and bottom, then place in the oven. When the roasting tin is very hot and smoking, place the sausages inside, evenly spread out, and cook for 5 mins.

Give the rested batter a stir and pour into the really hot tin – take care as it may spit. Quickly sprinkle over the sage leaves and rosemary, then place in the middle of the oven. Do not open the door for 25 mins, then check – if needed, cook for a further 5-10 mins. Cook until puffed up and brown and the batter is completely cooked through. Serve herby toad in the hole straight from the dish.

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