We’ve given an age-old classic a festive twist, cloaking our Cumberland sausages in streaky bacon blankets then engulfing them in a billowy Yorkshire pudding batter. A festive centrepiece guaranteed to delight everyone round the table
Recipe by the amazing Alice Birch @aliceinfoodylandServes 6
For the toad in the hole:
8 ‘Farm and Fell’ Cumberland sausages
8 pieces of ‘Farm and Fell’ streaky bacon
225g plain flour
8 organic Pasture-Raised eggs
600ml full fat milk
50g beef dripping
1 ½ tbsp wholegrain mustard
Handful of herbs, picked and finely chopped: sage and rosemary work beautifully
For the caramelised onion gravy:
Drizzle of olive oil
2 onions- peeled and sliced finely
1tbsp golden caster sugar
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
2tbsp plain flour
150ml red wine
500ml chicken or beef stock
Start by making the batter- place the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk in all 8 eggs until well combined and smooth, then gradually add the milk. Once smooth, stir through the mustard, herbs and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Leave to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours (this can be prepared up to a day ahead)
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Fan. Get out a roasting tin (ideally measuring 30cm x 20cm x 5cm deep).
Now prep the sausages. Working one at a time, lay the bacon out on a chopping board and run the sharp side of your knife along the length of the rasher to stretch it out and thin the bacon (it will result in crispier bacon). Then place the sausage at one end and roll the bacon until it’s wrapped up
Bake the sausages in the roasting tin for 25 minutes, turning them over halfway through- it’s important to get some good colour on them before adding the batter
Once the sausages are browned, remove from the oven to a plate. Add the beef dripping to the tin and put it back into the oven to get smoking hot (about 10 mins) before adding the batter
Add the sausages to the hot tin then pour over the batter and bake for 50 minutes or so until puffed up and golden brown
Whilst the toad is cooking, get on with the gravy. Drizzle a little oil into a saucepan. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt and cook very gently for 25 minutes or so. Stir every now and again until they’re soft. Turn the heat up to medium, remove the lid and add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, cook for another 5-10 minutes until soft, sticky and caramelised
Now stir the flour into the onions to make a paste, cooking for 2-3 mins to fully cook it out. Stir the mixture while you slowly add the wine, until you have a smooth, thick sauce. Increase the heat and bubble for a few mins until reduced by about half. Add the stock and seasoning and continue bubbling for 10 mins or so until your desired consistency is reached
Once the toad is puffed up and golden take immediately to the table before it starts deflating! Serve with the caramelised onion gravy and mash
Don’t use too large a tin- you want one snug-fitting and relatively shallow- remember you want to see the batter billowing up and over the sides of the tin!
Our Cumberland sausages in this dish make all the difference- they’re stuffed with pepper, thyme, sage, nutmeg and cayenne and pack a flavour punch.
The gravy can be made up to 2 days ahead and reheated on the day.