Michelin starred chef Nathan Outlaw might be best known for his fish dishes and expertise, but his book, Home Kitchen, is all about home comforts, and when it comes to comfort, nothing beats his toad-in-the-hole.
- Large baking dish
- Wide pan
- 12 pork sausages
- olive oil for cooking
For the batter
- 4 free-range eggs
- 180 g plain flour
- 150 ml whole milk
- 150 ml water
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
For the gravy
- olive oil for cooking
- 2 large red onions peeled and sliced
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- a few sprigs of thyme leaves picked and chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 200 ml red wine
- 600 ml chicken stock
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 205°C/gas 7 and place a large baking dish, about 25cm in diameter, inside to heat up.
- First start the gravy. Place a wide pan over a medium-high heat and add a drizzle of oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaves and cook for five to six minutes until the onions begin to soften and colour. Sprinkle in the sugar and wine vinegar and cook for a further four minutes. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for two minutes.
- Continuing to stir, add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, then pour in the stock. Simmer for 25–30 minutes until the gravy thickens. Taste for seasoning and to check that you are satisfied with the flavour; if it is too thin, simmer for a little longer.
- While the gravy is cooking, make the batter. Whisk the eggs and flour together in a bowl, then whisk in the milk and water to make a smooth batter. Season with salt and pepper.
- To cook the toad-in-the-hole, take the dish from the oven, drizzle in a little oil, then add the sausages. Place in the oven and cook for five minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and pour over the batter. Return to the oven and bake for 30–35 minutes until the batter is risen, golden and crisp.
- Serve the toad-in-the-hole immediately, with the gravy. Nathan likes to serve it with mashed potatoes and buttered carrots, tossed with chopped parsley, on the side.
Nathan Outlaw’s Home Kitchen is published in hardback by Quadrille. Photography by David Loftus.
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