It has been far too long since I've cooked with The Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson. To remedy that, I decided on an old-fashioned British classic, Toad In The Hole.
Toad In The Hole is a traditional dish that is basically links of sausage popping out of a popover batter. The sausages are said to appear like toads poking their heads out of holes.
Now, Nigella changes things up a bit because according to her, "I really don't like the way that the sausages, when this is prepared in the traditional manner, go a spooky braised pink as they cook within the batter." So she removes the sausage from the casing and forms little patties.
Now, I've never tried the traditional way, with the links, but I can see Nigella's point and therefore chose to go with her method. In the end, I think it makes the dish a little more appetizing and also easier to eat.
Please do yourself a favor and try this classic dish. It is incredibly simple to put together and requires very little ingredients. It makes for a comforting family meal, perfect for kids. Toad In The Hole is typically served with onion gravy and peas and/or mashed potatoes. The onion gravy truly brings together the flavors of the Toad In The Hole with the peas and mashed potatoes for a delightfully different meal. My favorite parts were the crunchy bits of the batter close to the edge!
Toad In The Hole
Recipe Adapted from Nigella's Kitchen
by Nigella Lawson
For The Toad In The Hole
1-1/2 cups milk
1-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
approximately 1 pound good pork sausages (6 in number)
1 tablespoon fat or oil
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus more for garnishing
For Onion Gravy
2 tablespoons fat or oil
2 onions, peeled, halves, and very finely sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
4 teaspoons flour
2 cups beef broth
splash of marsala, if desired
For the Toad In The Hole: Preheat the oven to 425F. Whisk the milk and eggs together with the salt, then whisk in the flour, beating to make a smooth batter. I find this way round makes for a lighter batter.
Press the sausage meat out of its casing (you may need to nick the skin with a knife), half a sausage at a time, rolling it in your hands to form a ball, and then squash gently to make a little, fat patty. You should get 12 patties from the 6 sausages.
Heat the fat or oil in a heavy-based, flame-safe roasting pan on the stove and brown the patties for about 1 minute each side; you need do no more than make them look enticingly brown.
With the patties and oil still hot, pour in the batter and quickly drop in the sprigs of thyme. Absolutely immediately put into the oven for about 40 minutes or until the edges of the batter have risen and turned golden, and the eggy middle has set.
Serve immediately, scattered with a thyme sprig or two or just a few leaves, and with gravy (if you feel you can only properly enjoy your popovers when they are sauce-sogged.
For Onion Gravy: Warm 2 tablespoons fat or oil and then cook 2 onions, halved, and very finely sliced, until soft (about 10 minutes). Add 2 teaspoons sugar, and let the onions cook, caramelizing a little for another 3 or so minutes, before stirring in 4 teaspoons flour, then 2 cups beef broth. When thickened and hot, add a glug of marsala (if you wish) to taste.