Yorkshire pudding becomes a classic toad-in-the-hole. by Pat Farr

Thursday, February 14th, 2019


Classic Toad-in-the-Hole doesn’t have to be rough or boring.

Classic “Toad-in-the-hole” does not have to be rough or boring. This Italiano version incorporates Italian Cheeses with basil-garlic chicken meatballs

When you take a time-honored Yorkshire pudding recipe and cooking technique, like the one I inherited from my mother and she from her mother, and add pieces of English bangers it becomes toad-in-the-hole.

TIH was served in school, at restaurants and in my home when I was growing up in Sheffield.  This simple variation lets you know how only your imagination holds you back from a broad variety of options.


2c     Flour

1c      Milk and water

3        Eggs

1T       each, chopped oregano, chopped fresh garlic (or to taste)

pinch black pepper, salt to taste

12      cooked seasoned chicken meatballs or chicken sausage chunks

12T   Mozarella cheese

12×1/2t     Parmesan Cheese

vegetable oil for cooking

Beat the flour, liquid, eggs and spices until smooth.   Add more or less of the liquid to make a pancake-batter consistency smooth mix.  This can be made early and reserved until ready to cook.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.  Add the oil to muffin (or Yorkshire pudding) tins and bring to oven temperature.

Fill the tins nearly to the top with the batter, in the hot oil.  Place a meatball in the middle and spoon and sprinkle the Italian cheeses on top.

Bake in the oven until fully risen and golden brown, check after 15 minutes.

You can serve this version of TIH with a marinara sauce…

Substitute any meat you love and any spice blend to compliment the meat:  boudin blanc, Mexican, Hawaiian–you be the creator!

Yorkshire Steak and (not) Kidney Pie. by Pat Farr

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Believe it or not, these steak and mushroom (not kidney) pies taste even better than they look


This is (in my opinion) a superb replacement for the traditional steak and kidney pie my Mom used to make.  In this technique the mushrooms have a distinctly different texture to the beef, somewhat reminiscent of the texture of the kidney that is traditionally used.


The dough

3            c                           White flour

1            c                           Vegetable shortening

1-1/4    t                            Salt

¾           c                          Ice water

Egg/water wash for brushing

Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until it is completely evenly incorporated into tiny clumps.  Slowly incorporate the ice water using your fingertips until it can form a  loose ball.  Don’t knead it or work it with anything your fingertips.  Wrap and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours, up to a day.

The filling

3            lb                         Cubed braising beef (see below)

1 to 2   lb                          Brown (crimini), cleaned whole mushrooms, about 1”

½           c                         Carrots, finely chopped

½           c                         Celery, finely chopped

½           c                         Onion, coarsely chopped

1            T                          Minced garlic

2            c                          Rich beef broth

1            T                          Thyme

Salt and pepper, garlic powder (to rub into the beef)

1            T                          Brown sauce or 1 t Worcestershire Sauce

Flour for coating the uncooked beef

Flour/water mix for thickening (if necessary)

Oil for browning the beef

Optional (see below)

2            c                           Firm, cooked, diced potatoes and/or turnip, diced to ½”

Making the pies 

Buy a 3-3-1/2 lb chuck roast and remove most of the fat and any cartilage.  I like about a one-inch cube, but the size can vary and I like it better if the cubes aren’t all the same size.  Rub the salt, pepper and garlic powder into the beef cubes.  Toss in flour to lightly coat.

Heat the oil in a cast-iron (or your choice) oven-proof lidded pan.  In small batches, quickly brown the beef on all sides.  Add the beef back into the pan and toss in the carrot, celery, and onion.  Stir in the broth and thyme and bring to a simmer.  Place it in a 300-degree oven, lidded, to braise for about 2 hours.  You can braise on the stove top, but it needs to be watched.

After the beef is ridiculously tender, taste and add Worcestershire Sauce if desired.  Thicken the mixture if necessary with a flour-water blend.  (It should not be necessary).

Stir in the uncooked mushrooms.

After the cooking, you can add the cooked potatoes and turnip and stir in, if you’d like.  Or not.

At this point you can allow the stew to cool to room temperature.

The assembly

Evenly divide the marvelous filling into six dishes.  I use a 5” diameter basin.

Cut the dough and roll into six even-sized balls, then roll flat, about 1-1/2” larger than the dish diameter.  Lay the rounds over the dishes, then press and pinch the overlap down from the rim. Brush with egg wash and bake at 425-degrees F for 30 minutes.  Start checking after about 20 minutes to make sure they brown to your liking.

Serve to me and your friends and family with a nice salad and Henderson’s Brown Sauce or A-1.  Eat them warm or cold, today or tomorrow.  In Yorkshire it’s preferred to serve these remarkable creations with chips on the side.