Today, being the day after our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, where we eat all the usual foods and fixings, when we had Kim and Alexandra over for lunch, we wanted to serve something a little bit different. Since I had just finished a post from our UK trip where toad-in-the-hole was featured, I guess that it had been on my mind. Also, we had just purchased an assortment of sausages from Costco so we were all set.
For the uninitiated, this British dish is a combination of Yorkshire Pudding and sausages. There are many different recipes and variations but in essence, this is a simple meal to both prepare and cook. In my experience, there are two important aspects that will make or break the success of your efforts. The first is to add some flavour to the batter by using something other than oil as the fat. Typically, the English use reserved pan drippings from roasted meats but of course most of us don’t have this sitting in our refridgerators. For our part, we do normally have reserved bacon fat on hand and this is a perfect place to use it. The second secret is to make sure that the fat and pan are pre-heated to the point where the fat or oil is literally starting to smoke otherwise there is a good chance that the batter will not rise and become light and fluffy as it should.
This was probably my downfall. Following my own instructions, the bacon fat was indeed sizzling and just starting to smoke as I poured the batter into the Pyrex dish that had served us so well for the last 25-30 years and had turned out many a perfect toad-in-the-hole in the past. Then, all of a sudden I heard an eerie cracking sound and the dish disintegrated before my eyes. If you are wondering about the little specs in the picture above, I was trying out a new variant which included grainy mustard in the batter.
Being the consummate professional that I am (not), I quickly whipped up some more batter to replace that which you see spread over the top of the stove and used a metal baking pan to recover from the disaster. If you would like more detailed instructions on how to prepare this dish, the recipe can be found in our Un-Cookbook which will be available for both download and in hard and/or soft cover within the next few weeks.