It’s Boxing Day, the day of leftovers and lounging around in pyjamas! Yesterday, we had the most delicious pescatarian dinner: salmon en croute, loads of veggies and some lemony hasselback potatoes – it was amazing. Yet, we still missed the meaty, carb-heavy Christmas dinner of old with Yorkshire puddings and oodles of gravy. For Boxing day I decided to compromise and make something that would capture that delicious British Christmas dinner without all the meat that goes with it, I went for the very delicious and curiously named, toad in the hole.
Toad in the hole is essentially a big Yorkshire pudding (an airy, savoury pancake, baked in the oven) with sausages baked into it. The sausages are said to look like the backs of toads hiding in a pond, not the most appetising image for a dish, I know. I used to eat toad in the hole often when I lived in the UK and ate meat more often, the juxtaposition of the big juicy sausages with the puffy and crispy Yorkshire pudding mix was hard to resist. I was really looking forward to trying it with some vegetarian sausages today.
I have tried and failed with making Yorkshire puddings a number of times, so I was hoping my toad in the hole would fare a bit better. The key is getting the oil as hot as possible and not opening the oven – as soon as the heat leaves it starts to sink. I followed a Jamie Oliver recipe, and it was ridiculously simple, the only scary bit was getting the hot oil in and out of the oven. When I put the batter in the tin, the sausages just seemed to swim around in it for quite some time and I thought I’d end up with an eggy flat mess. My husband (who is the Yorkshire pudding master) reassured me that it would come good with a bit of patience, and sure enough, 20 minutes later it had puffed up in all the right places, sausages poking out welcomingly above the batter. I have to warn you, this kind of dish is what gives British cooking a bad name, and what the term “Ugly delicious” was surely invented for…
It’s really difficult to take a good picture of such a weird, brown food, but trust me, when I paired it with the onion gravy from the same recipe, it was really good. In the future, I’d use a bigger pan as the batter was a little bit eggy in places, but on the whole, this was a really delicious new thing!