Recipes

Frog in the Ditch – An Americanized Version of Toad in the Hole

*originally published in my cooking blog “One Bite at a Time: From My Kitchen to Yours”

When I first published this recipe my dear Mother In Law, Margaret, was still alive and well and happy.  Sadly, we lost Margaret six years ago to cancer.  This blog post is dedicated to her memory.  We still love and miss her so! 

toad in the hole

I love British food and having a British husband has opened all kinds of new food experiences and recipes to me!  My mother in law is quite possibly THE best cook in the world, when we visit England I live for her home cooked meals.  She makes an awesome Toad in the Hole, which, if you are not familiar with it, is basically sausage in a pastry like batter.  When my husband moved to America he brought some pretty good British cookbooks with him and I’ve had fun trying to replicate the recipes.  NOT an easy task though since American ingredients differ greatly from British ingredients!  Take sausage for instant.  In Britain they have the most wonderful sausage full of flavor.  It has a lighter texture than American sausage (their hot dogs are different as well).  Problem is you can’t find British sausage here, at least not where I live!  And believe me, we have looked!!!  The same with flour.  With American flour you get a tougher, flakier pastry than what you get with British flour, which gives you a softer, more substantial pastry.  This is why the bread you find in British grocery stores is soooo good!  Not the light squidgy stuff we get here.  British bread makes the best toast!  The closest I have been able to find here to British bread is Italian or the specialty bakery bread that costs $$$$.
It’s so disappointing that there is a common misconception that British food is bland and tasteless.  NOTHING could be further from the truth!  Trust me, I am just about THE pickiest eater you will find, and I love pretty much everything I’ve ever had to eat in England.  (exceptions being Branston, Marmite, Christmas pudding and Blood pudding! Ick!)  
So on to the recipe!  The traditional Toad in the Hole, prepared correctly, is delicious but it takes a lot more work and patience than I currently have!  Plus like I said, I don’t have the proper ingredients.  Still, Glen and I have managed to come up with what we think is a suitable substitute to have here in America.  When we visit England we get to have the real thing from Glen’s mom!  This recipe has been adapted by yours truly from Delia’s How to Cook Book One.  Hope you like it!
Ingredients:
1 tube of breakfast sausage (I use the mild but it’s up to you)
3/4 cup white flour
1 large egg
3 fl oz. (75 ml) semi skimmed milk (I am guessing this means 2%)
2 fl oz. (55 ml) water
salt & pepper
1 onion, sliced and separated into strips
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Pre-heat your oven to 425.  Mold the sausage into links (I usually get 5-6).  Cut your onion.  Mix oil and sugar in a bowl and toss the onion to coat.  I use a small rectangular (glass) baking dish (sorry can’t remember the measurements, smaller than the 9×13).  Spread your onions on bottom of pan, place sausage links inside.  Cook in oven till done, I usually give them 30 minutes just to be sure they are done!  
Now you are ready to mix up the batter.  Sift the flour into a large bowl, make a well in the flour with a large spoon, break the egg into it and add salt and pepper.  (I also had a sprinkle of onion powder).  Whisk the egg into the flour.  Measure your milk and water into a measuring jug and gradually add the liquid, whisking  until smooth.    When your sausages are done, pour the batter over them and return to the oven.  Cook for another 20-30 minutes, be careful or it will burn and you won’t be able to cut it!  
I make a brown gravy to serve over top (usually just the brown gravy packets).  A typical serving is two sausages in the batter.  It may be tough to cut so use a sharp knife (thanks again to American flour!)  Serve with mashed potatoes and for that authentic British twist baked beans on the side!    
Not sure how many this serves, it’s perfect for Glen and I so if you have a bigger family you will want to double the recipe and use a bigger pan.
Now I’m sure there are better American versions of Toad in the Hole out there, I haven’t looked, but this is the one we use and enjoy.  You can use a link sausage if you like, but in our experience it lacks that authentic British flavor.  Feel free to tinker around with your recipes, that’s what makes them fun!!!

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