This is my second attempt at cooking from my Civil War Recipes cookbook. The first attempt did not go over so well. It was one of those recipes that was ok, but it was also weird. I am glad to say that attempt 2 was much more successful.
It’s been interesting cooking from recipes that are just general descriptions and not really instructions. Especially recipes that are so unfamiliar. If it were a general description on how to make pot-pie for example I would be all “piece of cake!” but, baked beef-steak pudding? No clue.
The book notes that the recipe is also referred to as a traditional English dish called toad-in-a-hole, which I also have never heard of before. This is really putting my cooking skills to the test. Seriously, let’s break this down for a minute. A Puerto Rican cooking, mostly European recipes from the 1860s. Also, may I add that if someone told me toad-in-a-hole was for dinner they would most definitely get a suspicious one eyebrow raise “whachatalkinabout” look.
I did a little research and found that toad-in-the-hole is typically made with sausages or bangers, which are sausages. This recipe called for strips of steak, which was perfect because I didn’t have any sausages and really didn’t want to change out of my holey leggings to go to the store. It was a holey legging/sweat shirt day and nothing was going to get me out of them.
The recipe reads as follows:
Make a batter of milk, two eggs, and flour; lay a little of it at the bottom of the dish; then put in the steaks, which have been cut in strips and rolled with fat in between, and if shredded onions is approved, add a very little, season well with pepper and salt; pour the remainder of the batter over them, and bake it.
The recipe specifies the number of eggs, but not guidance when it come to the milk and flour. After looking at some toad-in-the-hole recipes I figured out that it typically uses equal parts flour and milk. The recipe does not specify a type of dish so I figured why not a cast iron skillet. It seems very 1860. It also doesn’t explain what it means by the steak being “rolled in fat”, so I tossed them with melted butter. I also decided to sauté the onions and add some minced rosemary to add some flavor.
The end results? Nommy!
Super savory and best eaten hot right out of the oven. The edges were my favorite because they were crispy and crunchy. The center is more pudding like, very reminiscent of Yorkshire pudding. Which, now that I am writing this I realize that it pretty much is Yorkshire pudding, but with beef strips in it. If you have sausages on hand it would be awesome with sausage, but if you want to stick with steak go for a cut that you would grill.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
Season steak strips with salt and pepper combine with melted butter and rosemary, until well coated, set aside.
Heat a cast iron over medium-high heat, add remaining tablespoon of butter, add onions and cook until soft and browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer onions to plate, set aside.
Combine milk, eggs and flour in a bowl, whisk until well combined, season with salt and pepper. Lightly butter cast iron skillet. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter into the cast iron skillet, add steak strips and onions. Pour remaining batter over steak. Sprinkle with more fresh herbs if desired. Bake for 30 minutes our until pudding has set and browned.