Max’s Yankee Toad in the Hole with Creamy Pancetta Gravy

This is a recipe for Max, George’s little brother who lives next and who does an amazing velociraptor impression.  Max doesn’t like sauces- so he may not appreciate the gravy….but that is optional (and I think George might like the gravy).

My inspiration for this was a marriage of a classic Brit comfort food, Toad in the Hole, with a nostalgic Yank childhood favourite, Corn Dogs….which along with cotton candy and funnel cakes were a fairground staple when I was growing up.  But  – unlike funnel cakes and cotton candy… corn dogs were actually as good as you remembered.


  • 8 good big meaty pork sausages
  • 1 can corn (200g, but if you love corn, by all means add more)
  • 1 ½  cups cornmeal
  • ½  cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted


  • 100g pancetta  – chopped
  • 3 T groundnut oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3T all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • few grinds of black pepper
  • 1-2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 dashes of Tabasco sauce, cayenne pepper, or other hot sauce (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C.  Brown the sausages and set aside.  Make the cornbread batter – in a bowl stir together the dry ingredients, in a separate bowl mix the egg and butter milk together, then add the melted butter. Mix the dry in ingredients the wet ingredients. Put your baking dish (the dish I use is 10×8) in the oven with 2T groundnut oil for ~5 min to heat up oil.  When the oil is hot, take out the dish, dump in the can of corn, then add the cornbread batter. Top with your sausages – then put it all in the oven for 25 minutes, or until cornbread looks lightly golden brown.

While the ‘toad’ is cooking make your gravy. Heat the groundnut oil in a nonstick skillet.  Add the onion and pancetta and sauté until inion soft and pancetta is beginning to crisp up, ~5-7 minutes.  Add the flour and cook for another 5 minutes.  Add the Worcestershire, salt and tabasco, then slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.  Once all the milk is in, stir occasionally for about 10-15 minutes until the gravy has thickened.

Et voila….serve your toad with the gravy (and maybe a bit of mustard)…and some sautéed greens and you have a pretty scrummy meal!

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