Here's my entry for the Toad Of Toad Hall challenge. It's not my best ever result visually - for some reason the holes are not very deep - but the taste using locally produced #bedsfood sausages from K.C.Robbins and my tailor made onion gravy was FAB!
My secret to great Toad In The Hole is to poach the sausages SLOWLY. I sometimes poach in Cider and then use this to make the gravy - this time as I was using Spanish Paprika sausages I made a simple stock base with Bay, Celery, Onion, Peppercorns etc...
You need to place all the stuff in a big pan of cold water. And bring VERY SLOWLY to just under a simmer until cooked - time depends on how big your bangers are but about an hour. If you put them in a pan of boiling stock or heat it too fast the bangers will pop! I leave the links connected to minimise any loss of the filling into the water.
For the onion gravy I sliced two large red onions (grown locally) and fried them slowly in Red Palm & Canola Oil - I love the colour this oil give you for tomato based dishes and adding a teaspoon of La Chinata's HOT smoked Pimenton gives it a real kick! When the onions are soft and caramelised turn up the heat for a minute or so and slosh on a good glug of sweet dark sherry followed by shot of red wine vinegar to deglaze.
Add Passata a little stock and a whole star anise - simmer gently and reduce to increase the depth of flavour and the colour.
Turkey Confit for New Year's Eve. I keep this fat in the fridge and use through the year for Yorkies, Holes and Roasties.
Back to the dish! Take the hot pan out of the oven and place on a medium heat on the hob. Throw in a knob of fat and when it has melted and starting to smoke pour in the batter mix followed by the sausages. I usually use about a pint of batter and six sausages to a pan.
Pop it back in the hot oven for about 25 mins until, you hope, the batter is cooked and well risen. Take the star anise out of the gravy and serve with your choice of vegetables - we like broad beans (well some of the kids don't but the HAVE to eat them or no pudding!). Because they were poached rather than roasted or grilled the sausages remain really moist and meaty and the gravy rich and unqtious.