Leave it to the British to come up with whimsical names for food: bubble and squeak, bangers and mash, Welsh rabbit (with nary a rabbit in sight), toad in the hole. Those names are so much more fun than saying “leftover veggies with mashed potatoes,” “sausages and mashed potatoes,” “toast slathered with cheese sauce,” or “batter baked with sausage”…which is, respectively, what all of those whimsically named dishes are.
My favorite has always been the toad in the hole — I’ve always liked the idea of sausages peeping through batter like little toads. Traditionally, whole sausages are included, but I like to cut mine into bite-sized rounds to make them easier to eat and all the more toad-like in how they do their “out of the hole” toad-peeping. (Disclaimer: I may also be partial to this dish because I read The Wind in the Willows when I was a kid and was particularly captivated by the character of Mr. Toad.)
This dish is best served piping-hot from the oven, but it reheats well if you’d like to make a pan of it to enjoy all week long at breakfast time. This version differs from the classic version in that I call for whole-grain flour along with eggs, milk, and sausage from pastured animals. Not only does this upgraded toad in the hole taste better, it’s far more nutritious than versions with stripped-out refined flour and/or conventional animal products.
Toad in the Hole Makes an 8″x8″ pan.
1 cup raw buckwheat OR sorghum OR brown rice flour*
Generous sprinkling of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, preferably from free-range hens
1 cup whole milk, preferably from grass-fed cows
At least 1/2 lb. sausage, preferably made with meat from pastured animals
Butter for the pan, preferably from grass-fed cows
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper, eggs, and milk. Let stand for 30 minutes to thicken. During that time, cut the sausages into bite-sized pieces, then sauté in a large skillet over medium heat for about 6 minutes or until golden brown on each side. (Flip halfway through cooking.) Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 325F. Add a knob of butter to a glass 8″x8″ pan and place in the preheated oven for 2 minutes to melt the butter. Add the sausages and their drippings to the pan. Whisk the batter again, then pour over the sausages. Bake for 20 minutes or until the center is puffed and the edges are turning light brown and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Serve immediately. Leftover toad in the hole can be refrigerated for 5 days, although it’s best served warm.
* These are gluten-free flours. If you’d prefer to make a wheat-based version, use 1 cup of kamut, spelt, barley, or whole-wheat flour.