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I recently posted a review of The Kitchen Shelf, a new and clever book for “us.” There are books that tell you how to create a great dish 20 minutes with 3 ingredients. This is not that kind of book. Not that kind at all.

The Kitchen Shelf suggests you stock your panty with just a relative handful of ingredients. Then use for delicious food ideas from around the world.

This is not an “around the world” recipe. Not that kind at all.

Toad in the Hole is a traditional British recipe. You may have had Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding. In a Toad, the Roast Beef disappears and is replaced by sausages. The individual Yorkshire puddings are replaced by on large dish in which the Yorkshire batter is spread out — then adorned with sausage and baked.

It’s a relatively young recipe, first appearing in cookbooks in the mid-1800s. And those first mentions just say to use scraps of meat. This was, first and always, an economy dish.

In The Kitchen Shelf, the recipe is offered with sage replacing more traditional thyme. Gravy is suggested here, too, following the classic recipe, but now that gravy is accented with soy sauce. This is one of the “classic” dishes you probably have never tried. It’s surely worth a weekend fling.

Sausage and Sage Toad in the Hole with Gravy

Yield: serves 4


For the toad in the hole:

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 Italian-style pork sausages
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Scant 1 cup milk
  • 10 sage leaves, shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the toad in the gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons superfine (caster) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ¼  bouillon (stock) cube made up to 1 cup broth (stock)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Put 1 tablespoon oil into a large roasting pan (2 tablespoons if your sausages are not very fatty), add the sausages, turning to coat in the oil, and then cook in the hot oven for 10 minutes, or until browned. Meanwhile, make the batter. Put the flour and seasoning into a large bowl, make a well in the center, and pour the eggs into it. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking to a smooth batter, it should be the consistency of heavy (double) cream. Stir through the shredded sage.

Remove the pan from the oven, then, working quickly, pour the batter evenly into the pan and return to the oven. The key to a puffy Yorkshire pudding is not to open the oven door, so resist the temptation and cook for 40 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.

Meanwhile, make the onion gravy. Put the oil in a pan, add the onions with some seasoning, and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until softened. Reduce the heat slightly, add the sugar, and cook for about another 5 minutes, or until really soft and caramelized. Add the flour, stir to coat, then cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add the broth (stock) a little at a time, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Once all the broth has been added, cook for 5 minutes, until thickened and bubbling. Add the soy sauce, check the seasoning again, and serve piping hot with the toad in the hole.

Source: The Kitchen Shelf by Eve O’Sullivan and Rosie Reynolds [Phaidon, 2016]