Welsh Rarebit or as some say…Rabbit … is not what you might think… it is not that cute little bunny rabbit … in fact… it is this wonderfully hearty cheese sauce over toasted bread. It is a typical tavern dish and dates back to the 18th century. Traditional Welsh Rarebit is made with sharp cheddar, ale and various other ingredients…
This recipe is from Alton Brown… I have tried many recipes of this dish over the years… they all vary very little… yet the sharpness of the cheese and the beer used can make all the difference. I decided to try Alton’s recipe… and the minute I tasted it… I knew I had found what I was looking for… I had “A Moment”… a moment when I could close my eyes and the taste took me back to the place where I fell in love with this dish….
When my husband and I were dating… we lived in New York… with all that is New York… all the restaurants… famous and not … big and small… on the cheap and the splurge… it was all there.. we went out a lot… he found this little pub.. and for the life of me I can’t remember the name… not a big place… a pub… where you stopped in after a movie for a beer and maybe a snack… it was there that I had the most awesome Welsh Rarebit. I had it before… with my mother… and liked it then… what’s not to like with a cheese sauce for a cheese lover?... but the pub.. well… we just had to have that Welsh Rarebit whenever we stopped in.
Don’t you just love discovering recipes and foods that evoke wonderful memories?
I have a few tips for this….
You can make a non-alcoholic version without the beer… and some people are very particular about using alcohol… by all means… it will be a basic cheese sauce with a little zip by adding Worcestershire sauce and a couple of drops of hot sauce…
BUT… if you do use alcohol when cooking… definitely try this with the beer… it adds a hearty flavor that really doesn’t taste like beer… after you’ve had it made with beer and you taste the sauce without it.. you will know instantly something is missing and can’t put your finger on it… it’s the beer… trust me.
I bought a Dark English Ale for this…. I went to a specialty wine and beer shop here in town… the owner suggested the brand… I used Hobgoblin Dark English Ale by Wychwood Brewery. If you can’t find it… ask the owner of a specialty shop for help… tell him what you want and what you need it for…. they can be a wealth of information.
Alton’s recipe calls for a porter… a slightly different kind of beer… dark English ales are similar… I recommend the dark English ale… it worked perfectly with this recipe.
A lot of recipes use thicker sliced bread, Italian or French bread… I used basic white bread toasted (called toast points)… it’s what I’m used to and love it.
I melt 1 tablespoon or so of butter and brush it lightly on the toast… don’t soak it.. put just enough on so it’s not dry and gives a light buttery flavor.
This sauce recipe makes enough for about 6-8 slices of toast.
This sauce is also divine on vegetables… especially broccoli… next time you grill a steak.. grill some onions for the steak…. and make broccoli with this sauce on it…just fabulous!
You will love this quick and easy tavern “snack”!
Recipe: Welsh Rarebit
All you need:
3 tablespoons butter divided
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ cup ale
¾ cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 drops hot sauce
Sliced bread, toasted
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
All you need to do:
In a small sauce pan, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat.
Add the flour and stir to incorporate the flour into the butter. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly to cook of the flour taste.
Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth.
Add the beer and whisk until completely incorporated and sauce is smooth.
Add the cream, whisk until incorporated and sauce is smooth.
Add the shredded cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted.
Add the drops of hot sauce and stir well.
Remove from heat.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a measuring cup in the microwave.
Toast the bread and lightly brush the slices with melted butter using a pastry brush.
Cut the toast into two triangles and place on a plate.
Ladle sauce over the toast.
Sprinkle with finely chopped fresh parsley (if desired).
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