If you don’t know what Toad in the Hole is, now is the time to find out. The reason is simple; you have got to try this!
A very strange name, and, the best explanation is that somehow (if you really stretch your imagination), the sausages resemble a toad or frog peeking out of a hole, the batter in this case! It is english and there are references to it being made in the mid 19th century, but who really knows?
Judging by the simple batter (same batter as Yorkshire pudding) and the inclusion of a very basic meat, it must have been a kind of make-the-most-of-not-much sort of meal.
The original Toad in the Hole is a simple batter poured over some par-cooked sausages, and then finished off in a hot oven. It has everything that is great about comfort food, a divine savouriness, mixed with a filling creaminess (yes, making up new adjectives is a hobby of mine!)
If you feel a little lazy like me some evenings, a great way to turn this humble dish into a girth-y meal is to load it with vegetables. I love one-pot meals, whether it is a slow-cooked stew or a big pot of soup.
Everyday Toad in the Hole however did not satisfy the maternal need in me to make sure dinner had some sort of vegetable. This guilt led to the making of something that far surpassed cooking sausages in plain batter. The pudding picked up all the wonderful vegetable flavors, and I even got one of my kids to enjoy peppers more than he usually does.
I used peppers and broccoli, but I think you could use just about anything you can scrounge up. Also, if you don’t want any toads in the hole whatsoever, this is also splendid as a side dish or a vegetarian meal.
You will Need: 6 big sausages (Italian or country), 1/2 lb bacon, sliced, 1 green pepper, diced, 1 red pepper, diced, 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional; I always opt for heat!), 4 cups broccoli crowns, cut into medium segments, 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cup milk, 1 tsp sea-salt, freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven 400*
1 – Fry sausage on medium heat until brown on all sides (about 10 -12 minutes. Set aside.
2 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add the bacon slices. Fry for 6 or 7 minutes. Drain off all but a couple of tbs of oil into a bowl and reserve. Add the peppers to the bacon and continue to cook for another 8 minutes or so, or, until the peppers have softened.
3 – While peppers are cooking, prep the broccoli and put pot of water on to boil. When it boils, add the broccoli and cook covered for 5 minutes. Drain and reserve.
4 – In a large bowl combine the flour, and salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Add to the flour and mix together (it doesn’t matter if it is lumpy). Add the cooked vegetables to the batter and give everything a stir.
5 – Put 3 tbs of the reserved bacon fat into the bottom of a casserole dish and place in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Take out and pour batter into dish, and arrange the sausages on top (be careful as the dish is very hot). Place in oven for about 30 minutes or until the top browns.
Serve as is, or with some carmelized onions, or atop a crunchy green salad. Hot sauce is also a good idea. Be prepared to dole out seconds!