Toad-in-the-‘Stool’ – An Unfortunate Name

“Don’t you mean ‘toad-in-the-hole’?”

During one of our weekly food runs, my girlfriend and I were deciding what to cook and there you have me mistaking the name of a British classic dish of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter with…a mushroom.

And so inspired by my failure I have written a simple toad-in-the-hole recipe with as you might have guessed, a mushroom gravy in keeping with the story. In addition to go with the earthy flavour of mushrooms I have chosen to use venison sausages but of course you can use whatever sausages you fancy.

tith-ingredients

The nice part about a toad in the hole prep wise is that you’ll most likely have the trio of eggs, flour and milk already so at worse you’ll just need to pick up your protein of choice and you can make the main component.

tith-oil-heating

The most important element when cooking a Yorkshire pudding batter in general is to have your oil very hot prior to cooking the batter. Hence the first thing to do is to leave your oil in your preheating oven before doing anything else.

tith-browning

Firstly we need to brown our meat to develop its flavour and give it a head start in the cooking process before we submerge them in batter.

Speaking of the batter, you will find various recipes for the ‘best Yorkshire pudding’ but for this recipe we are going to simply use a 1:1:1 ratio for the eggs, milk and flour. Most recipes will state individual eggs as the unit of measurement but eggs are not a set weight so for the sake of the ratio I measured the weight of 2 eggs and then simply added equal quantities of milk and flour. Regardless of the method, we’re looking for a fairly runny consistency with no lumps as depicted by the right-hand image.

 

After testing the temperature of the oil with a drop of batter, you lay the sausages and add the thyme followed by the batter. It will sizzle if it is hot enough.

In many recipes there involves a stage where vegetables need to be heated for a time before moving on. I would like to point out now the purpose is to sweat the vegetables thus intensifying their flavour. As you can see above there is a lot of water inside the mushrooms but eventually this will evaporate.

tith-stock-added

After sweating you add the stock and again we reduce this liquid down to intensify the flavour and then it just needs to be thickened.

One method of thickening sauces is to use a slurry which is simply flour mixed with water. If you were to add flour straight into the sauce then it is more difficult to remove the lumps.

tith-out-of-the-oven

After cooking the batter will have risen around the sausages and the exterior will be crispy. All that’s left to do is to pour the gravy you put so much care in straight into the pudding and enjoy.

tith-final

Ingredients                                                                             Costings

  • 3 tbls Oil
  • 6 Venison Sausages                                                                £3.00
  • 2 eggs                                                                                        £0.30
  • *Semi-Skimmed Milk                                                             £0.71
  • *Plain Flour                                                                              £0.06
  • 4 Thyme Sprigs – picked                                                        £0.18
  • 120g Mushrooms                                                                     £0.50
  • 1 Garlic Clove – crushed                                                         £0.03
  • 500ml Vegetable Stock                                                           £0.19

*These will each be equal to the weight as the contents of the 2 eggs. For the costings I have taken it to be 120g/ml.

Total Cost for 3 servings ~ £4.97

Method

  1. Preheat oven 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and place 2 tablespoons of oil into an ovenproof dish into the oven.
  2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and brown the sides of the sausages then set aside. Meanwhile put the eggs, milk and flour into a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
  3. When the ovenproof dish oil is very hot (test with a drop of batter), add the sausages, sprinkle over the thyme and then pour the batter around the sausages. Place in the oven for 25-30 minutes without opening the door.
  4. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the pan then add the garlic and mushrooms. Sweat for around 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the thyme and stock and simmer until reduced by 1/3.
  6. Combine a tablespoon flour with enough cold water to create a runny paste. Add to the gravy to thicken to correct consistency.
  7. Serve the gravy on top of the toad-in-the-hole when ready.
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