Pic of Portobello toad in the hole with red onion gravy and squash mash

Portobello toad in the hole with red onion gravy and squash mash

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Vegetarian mains

Portobello toad in the hole with red onion gravy and squash mash

Main Serves 2 1h 20 min
This is a vegetarian take on a traditional sausage toad in the hole, using portobello mushrooms.

Cook's notes

Roasting squash in halves or wedges with the skin on is an easy way of preparing them. It's particularly good for thick-skinned squash, e.g. crown prince or kabocha. Our kabocha are either orange or green-skinned, but both have orange flesh. The trick to getting a good, risen Yorkshire batter is to have your oil nice and hot. Don't be tempted to open the oven door too early; the sharp blast of cold air will cause it to sink.


  • 1 kabocha squash
  • oil for roasting and frying, e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 2 red onions
  • 50g butter
  • ½ cabbage
  • 4 Portobello mushrooms
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 60ml red wine
  • 1 tsp yeast extract
  • 1 stalk fresh rosemary
  • 1 low salt vegetable stock cube
  • salt and pepper
Image of Portobello toad in the hole with red onion gravy and squash mash


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 1h 10 min
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5. Chop the squash in half lengthways, then each half into 6-8 fat wedges, scooping out and discarding any seeds. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil. Pop in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.
  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, peel and finely slice the onions. In a good sized saucepan heat 1 tablespoon of oil with half the butter, the onions and a good pinch of salt. Gently cook on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and caramelising, about 20 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, wash and finely shred half the cabbage, removing the tough core and thick ribs. Wipe the portobello mushrooms clean with a damp piece of kitchen paper or clean cloth. Strip the leaves off the thyme sprigs. Make the batter: put the flour and a good pinch of salt in a large bowl.
  • Step 4

    Crack in the egg. Whisk in a good 3 tablespoons (50ml) of milk to form a thick paste, then another 100ml of milk, until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the thyme leaves. Place the mushrooms in a baking dish, ideally one that fits them fairly snugly. Drizzle liberally with oil and season.
  • Step 5

    Once the squash has cooked for 20 minutes, pop the mushrooms in too. Cook squash and mushrooms for 10 minutes. Once the onions are soft, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir well. Add the red wine. Let it gently bubble and reduce for about 2 minutes.
  • Step 6

    Add the yeast extract, 1 sprig of rosemary and crumble in the stock cube. Add 400ml water, bring up to a low boil and bubble until the liquid has reduced by about half. Season to taste once reduced. If the gravy is ready before the toad (the battered mushrooms!), remove from the heat and warm through to serve.
  • Step 7

    Once cooked, remove the squash from the oven and keep to one side. Turn the oven up to 220°C/Gas 7. Add 2 tablespoons more oil to the mushroom dish. Return it to the oven for 5 minutes. Use the time to scoop the flesh out of the squash.
  • Step 8

    Use a fork to coarsely mash it with the remaining butter. Keep it to one side and gently warm in a pan to serve. After 5 minutes the oil should be good and hot. Stir the batter and pour into the mushroom dish. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden brown (see cook's note on cooking batter).
  • Step 9

    5 minutes before the batter is ready, gently wilt the cabbage in a pan with a splash of water. Once the mushrooms are cooked (the batter is crispy and risen), remove from the oven. Serve with the warmed squash, cabbage and onion gravy.

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