When I was a kid, we were allowed to choose what we had for dinner on our birthdays. I always chose the toad in the hole and to this day I still get excited about cooking and eating it. A vital advice: do not open the oven while the dough is cooking. If you do, it will collapse and you’ll end up with a pancake. And when the toad in the hole seems to be ready, leave it in the oven for another 5 minutes, it will be perfect when you take it out.
for 4 people
pork sausages 12
olive oil to cook
for the mass
Poultry eggs 4
plain flour 180g
whole milk 150ml
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
for the sauce
olive oil to cook
red onions 2 large, peeled and sliced
garlic 1 clove, finely chopped
thyme a few twigs, leaves picked and chopped
bay leaves 2
powdered sugar 1 tablespoon
red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon
plain flour 1 tablespoon
red wine 200ml
chicken soup 600ml
Preheat oven to 200C fan/gas mark 7 and place a large baking dish, about 25cm in diameter, inside to heat.
First start the sauce. Place a wide skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and cook for 5-6 minutes until the onions begin to soften and colour. Sprinkle in the sugar and vinegar and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Continuing to stir, add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, then pour in the broth. Cook over low heat for 25-30 minutes until the sauce thickens. Taste for seasoning and to check that you are happy with the flavor; if it’s too thin, simmer for a little longer.
While the sauce is cooking, make the dough. Beat the eggs and flour in a bowl, then add the milk and water to make a smooth dough. Spice with salt and pepper.
To cook the toad in the pit, take the dish out of the oven, drizzle a little oil, then add the sausages. Place in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and pour over the dough. Return to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the dough rises, is golden brown and crisp.
Serve the toad in the hole immediately, with the sauce. I like to have mashed potatoes and buttered carrots mixed with chopped parsley on the side.
From Nathan Outlaw’s Home Kitchen. Nathan Outlaw’s Everyday Seafood (Quadrille, £14.99) is now available