Despite the wholly unusual name, Toad In The Hole remains an incredibly popular Sunday dish across Britain. Hardly surprising, given the dish at it’s core consists of Sausages cooked in Yorkshire Pudding batter, a recipe for success by most anybody’s margin; it’s traditionally served alongside a selection of vegetables and, occasionally, with Onion Gravy.
There seems to be no concrete explanation for the odd choice of name; it has been suggested that at one point the dish was referred to as Frog In The Hole, but thus far there has been very little evidence to support this claim.
Is the sausage a toad? Is the batter a hole? Perhaps the original version was literally a battered toad? Nobody truly knows, but what matters is the taste; Toad In The Hole is certainly hard to beat in that area. Whether you go for pork, beef, chicken, or even vegetarian friendly options such as Quorn, you’re in for a tasty treat.
Likewise, the origins of the dish did not actually call for Sausages specifically; a recipe penned by Charles Elme Francatelli in 1861 instead calls for a rough measurement for “bits and pieces of any kind of meat”. This was later described as Lesso rifatto all’inglese, or “English cooked-again stewed meat”, by Artusi in his 1891 cookbook La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene.
The roots of the recipe run far deeper then that, back to Hannah Glasse’s “The Art Of Cookery”, which includes a recipe for Pigeon In A Hole. It is, as the name describes, Pigeons cooked in Yorkshire Pudding batter. Needless to say, this dish has fallen out of favour somewhat in modern times, though there are still plenty of fans. Another slight variation appeared in the 1940s, as a result of wartime rationing; this variant called for Spam in place of Sausages. I imagine it’s delicious all the same!