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Toad in the hole is a traditional British dish consisting of sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and onion gravy. The origin of the name "Toad-in-the-Hole" is often disputed. Many suggestions are that the dish's resemblance to a toad sticking its head out of a hole provides the dish with its somewhat unusual name. It is rumoured to have been called "Frog-in-the-Hole" in the past, although little evidence exists to support this theory. It has also been referred to as "sausage toad".
An 1861 recipe by Charles Elme Francatelli does not mention sausages, instead including as an ingredient "6d. or 1s. worth of bits and pieces of any kind of meat, which are to be had cheapest at night when the day's sale is over." This recipe was described, as "English cooked-again stewed meat" (Lesso rifatto all'inglese) or "Toad in the Hole", in the first book of modern Italian cuisine of the nineteenth century, (Artusi's "La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiare bene", 1891), in which the meat was nothing but left-over stewed meat cooked again in batter. During the 1940s, a wartime variation on the original used pieces of Spam in place of sausages. An earlier recipe with a similar style is found in Hannah Glasse's 1747 The Art of Cookery, where she presents a recipe for "Pigeons in a Hole", essentially pigeons cooked in a Yorkshire pudding batter.
The recipe itself is rather simple but requires some skill to cook perfectly. A pan is placed in the oven and heated for about 15 minutes while the batter is prepared. The sausages and batter are added and cooked for half an hour. With frozen sausages, the meat is placed in the dish while heated. It is normally accompanied by gravy (often onion gravy), vegetables and potatoes, often mashed.
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