A British classic that everybody loves - this toad in the hole consists of meaty pork sausages nestled in a giant crispy Yorkshire pudding. All served up with a rich red onion gravy.
You know you're getting old when you get excited by a good Yorkshire pudding rise.
But come on - how lovely does that look!
It could probably serve 6, but I want a whole corner to myself, and so does everyone else in the family, so let's stick to a calorific 4-person toad in the hole.
What is toad in the hole?
It's basically just a giant Yorkshire pudding with sausages cooked into it.
The Yorkshire pudding batter is the same as a traditional Yorkshire puddings, the only difference is that we're not cooking it in lard. Instead we par-cook the sausages in the oven in the baking tin in a little oil first. The sausages will release some fat, and that, along with the vegetable oil we added will act as the all important fat-base for the Yorkshire pudding part. Smokingly bubbly-hot fat (and enough of it) is hugely important for a Yorkshire pudding to rise well and to get the light, crispy outcome.
Here's what we'll need:
How to make toad in the hole:
We start by making the Yorkshire pudding batter. Place the flour in a jug, add the eggs and stir together, then stir in the milk using a whisk. Place in the refrigerator for an hour.
Next cook the sausages with a drizzle of oil in a large baking tin in a very hot oven for 15-20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Take the Yorkshire pudding batter out of the fridge and stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper, then oven the oven door and pour the batter into the baking dish, around the sausages. Close the door immediately and cook for 25-35 minutes until risen and golden.
For the gravy, we cook onions and a little sugar in butter for about 15-20 minutes, until starting to caramelize.
Then we stir in flour and slowly pour in hot beef stock whilst stirring, until the gravy thickens. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
Serve the Toad in the Hole with the red onion gravy and some green veggies.
Pro tips for your toad in the hole:
- It's really important to let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes (ideally for an hour or two) in the fridge. This allows the flour granules to swell, meaning you’ll get a lighter, crisp and more even Yorkshire pud. The cold batter hitting a very hot pan also helps with the rise and evenness.
- Use a metal (or enamel-coated metal) baking tin if possible - a large, reasonably deep dish is best. Using a metal tin means the tin it will get hotter and the heat distribution will be more even. Mine is a rectangular enamel roaster, approx 31cmx25cm and 5cm deep. Here's the link enamel roaster (affiliate link).
And of course no toad in the hole would be complete without a big jug of tasty gravy.
*Tasty* being the all important word! Since we haven't got the meat juices from a roast, it can be difficult to get a really flavourful gravy. So we're using caramelized red onions, Worcestershire sauce and good quality stock (water and really meaty, tasty stock cubes are fine) for the best flavour (check out my gravy know-how post for info on making different types of gravy and using bones for stock).
Toad in the hole with red onion gravy
Toad in the hole:
- 140 g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 4 medium eggs
- 200 ml (¾ cup + 1 tbsp) semi-skimmed (half-fat) milk
- 8 good quality thick pork sausages
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
Red onion gravy:
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 red onions - peeled and sliced thinly
- 2 tsp light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- 480 ml (2 cups) hot beef stock - try to use a good quality stock for the best flavour
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 10 sprigs fresh thyme - (optional)
- Make the yorkshire pudding batter first. Place the flour in a jug and make a well in the centre.140 g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) plain (all-purpose) flour
- Add the eggs and stir together with a balloon whisk, bringing the flour into the centre with the eggs bit-by-bit.4 medium eggs
- Add in the milk and stir with a whisk until combined. It’s fine if it’s a little bit lumpy.200 ml (¾ cup + 1 tbsp) semi-skimmed (half-fat) milk
- Place the jug in the fridge for an hour (up to overnight) to chill. This is important to allow the flour granules to swell (also, cold batter hitting a very hot pan should result in a good rise).
- Preheat the oven to 220C/425F (fan).
- Place the sausages in a large baking dish (see note 1) and drizzle over the oil. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned all over.8 good quality thick pork sausages, 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Take the Yorkshire pudding batter out of the fridge. Add in the salt and pepper and stir once more with a whisk.¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper
- Open the oven door, and if safe to do so(* note 1), pull out the tray and quickly (be careful, the oil will be very hot!), pour the batter into the baking dish, around the sausages. Close the door immediately and cook for 25-35 minutes until risen and golden.
- Meanwhile make the gravy.
- Place the oil and butter in a frying pan (skillet) and heat over a medium heat, until the butter has melted.1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- Add the onions and sugar, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook the onions for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to caramelize.2 red onions, 2 tsp light brown sugar
- Sprinkle over the flour and stir to coat the onions. Cook for 2 minutes to cook out the taste of the flour.2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
- Add in the hot beef stock slowly, whilst stirring all the time with a whisk, until the gravy thickens. Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.480 ml (2 cups) hot beef stock, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper
- Serve the Toad in the Hole with the red onion gravy and sprinkled with sprigs of fresh thyme. I like to serve mine with greens such as peas and cabbage too.10 sprigs fresh thyme
Note 1 - the baking dish:A large, reasonably deep dish is best. If you can use a metal one (like a deep roasting tin) or an enamel one, that's even better as it will get hotter and the heat distribution is better. Mine is a rectangular enamel roaster, approx 31cmx25cm and 5cm deep. Here's the link enamel roaster (affiliate link).
Sausages:Use good quality meaty sausages. It's best not to go with low fat ones as you want some of the fat to come out of the sausages when cooking them - this fat will help to make the Yorkshire pudding lighter and crispier.
I used Packington Free Range Premium Pork Sausages for this recipe.
Can I make it ahead?It's best served right away, but you can make it ahead, or save leftovers and reheat later.
Cook, then quickly cool, cover and refrigerate the toad in the hole.
Place in the oven covered in foil at 180C/350F for 15-20 minutes, until the sausages are piping hot throughout. Take the foil off for the last 5 minutes of cooking to crisp up the Yorkshire pudding. The gravy can be made ahead, then cooled, covered and refrigerated. Reheat in a pan until piping hot.
Nutritional information is per serving, including gravy.
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