April 19, 2024

Nana’s Kitchen: Welsh Rarebit

Greetings, home cooks, welcome to Nana’s Kitchen,

It has been a busy week. The Christmas decorations are in place inside and outside the house. The Christmas cards mailed. There is even a candle, burning merrily, giving off a warm winter scent. To celebrate the completed work I felt the need for some comfort food. This comes in the form of Welsh Rarebit. A cheesy concoction over toast that satisfies and warms.

The first mention of this dish is noted around 1725 when it was called “Welsh Rabbit”. It is a British dish. Historians believe the naming of the dish may have been a joke but interpretations vary, the origin of the term is unknown. During this time cheese was a substitute for meat, as many could not afford it. The term Welsh Rarebit began towards the 18th century and became more common place as the dish became more popular. Please note there is no rabbit in this dish! 

The sauce can be made a variety of ways. The basics of this dish is melted cheese on toast. Welsh rarebit is traditionally made with cheese, beer, mustard, butter and spices. Yes, it is a grilled cheese on toast, but with more depth of flavor than a piece of cheese on bread. Some recipes use wine or Worcestershire sauce. Other recipes create a creamier sauce blending the cheese and spices with a bechamel sauce.

For the toast use any kind of bread you prefer. White, wheat, rye, or other. Usually the loaf of bread is whole and uncut. This way you can cut thick slices of bread for toasting. Many toast the bread in the oven, on both sides, making it dry and crisp to hold up under the sauce. After the addition of the sauce it is broiled in the oven to brown the cheese a little on top. 

Variations in presentation are popular. Slices of seasoned tomatoes are added on top of the cheese before broiling, or a few slices of crispy bacon placed on top before serving. Other add ons include extra sprinkled cheese, finely chopped chives, fried egg, or boiled sliced eggs. Or no additional garnish at all. Make it your own. This dish is nice served with a few salad greens on the side as well.

Welsh Rarebit

Ingredients:
Have ingredients at room temperature.
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups fresh grated sharp cheddar cheese 
Dash salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon paprika 
1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon cayenne
Beer enough to get the consistency you like, about a 1/4th cup

In a double boiler melt the butter. 
Gradually add in the grated cheese, stirring well.
Add in the mustard, paprika, cayenne powder, salt and pepper.
Whisk until the cheese is thoroughly melted and smooth.
Add beer a little at a time, continuing to stir, to attain the thick or thinness you like.
Pour over the toasted bread placed on a sheet pan.
Place pan under oven broiler until the top of the cheese begins to brown. Only takes a couple of minutes.
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Hints:
This recipe serves 2.
I used a Sam Adams lager, but any beer will do. Some like a Guinness. 
The alcohol cooks off leaving a rich flavor along side the spices.
I chose a marble rye for my toast.
I had a little leftover grated cheese so it was sprinkled on top before broiling.
The double boiler prevents the cheese from burning in the pan. 
This dish is filling.

Have a blessed Sunday.