Who doesn’t like toad in the hole? For any non-Brits who might be confused, this is a classic dish of sausages cooked in batter – a comfort food staple because it’s pretty cheap and very filling. Another classic combination is sage and onion; in this case chopped sage is added to the batter to mellow out its sometimes slightly musty flavour while onions add a slight sweetness. I’ve cooked this in a cast iron skillet, but any relatively shallow ovenproof dish would work, though make sure it’s metal because you need the pan to be hot; simply brown the sausages and onions in a frying pan on the hob while you heat your tin and oil in the oven as you would for a Yorkshire pudding.
75g plain flour
2 large free range eggs
100ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
2tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped sage or 1 tsp dried (plus extra for decoration) (Optional)
4 sausages (I’ve used 8 because our butcher makes smaller sausages)
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
- First make the batter by sifting the flour into a mixing bowl with a good pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs. Whisk them into the flour until you can’t see any lumps – it’ll be quite a thick mix. Add the milk a bit at a time, stirring it in until it’s all combined. Stir in the sage and pop it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes, though you can make it a few hours ahead and kept in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C, 200°C fan, gas 7. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a solid ovenproof frying pan such as a cast iron skillet (I use this one). Add the sausages and brown them for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat, turning them regularly. Add the red onion wedges and cook for a further 4-5 mins, turning them once.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and let it get nice and hot. Arrange the sausages and onions nicely and for ease of serving later, then pour the batter over and around the sausages while the pan is still on the hob – it should sizzle and start to set around the edges. Scatter over the sage leaves and carefully pop the skillet into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until the batter is risen and crisp.
- Using oven gloves, remove the skillet from the oven, cut the toad in the whole in half and serve with vegetables and gravy.
Sage – Purification, cleansing, healing, protection
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