Welsh rarebit or Welsh rabbit is a dish made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and various other ingredients and served hot, after being poured over slices (or other pieces) of toasted bread, or the hot cheese sauce may be served in a bowl accompanied by sliced, toasted bread.
This may just be cheese on toast, but what cheese on toast it is! Original recipes use powdered mustard, but we like the elegance of Dijon; also try hot English mustard for some bite. This is a great way to use up yesterday’s bread. If your cheddar is cheap and rubbery, and you have some good Italian Parmesan in the fridge, substitute 50g of the Parmesan for 50g of the cheddar. When topped with a poached egg, this is called Welsh Buck or Buck Rarebit..
Various recipes for Welsh rarebit include the addition of ale, mustard, ground cayenne pepper or ground paprika and Worcestershire sauce. The sauce may also be made by blending cheese and mustard into a Béchamel sauce. Some recipes for Welsh rarebit have become textbook savoury dishes listed by culinary authorities including Escoffier, Saulnier and others, who tend to use the form Welsh rarebit, emphasizing that it is not a meat dish.
Acknowledging that there is more than one way to make a rarebit, some cookbooks have included two recipes: the Boston Cooking-School Cook Book of 1896 provides one béchamel-based recipe and another with beer, Le Guide Culinaire of 1907 has one with ale and one without, and the Constance Spry Cookery Book of 1956 has one with flour and one without.
- 200g cheddar cheese, grated
- 2 tablespoons pale beer
- 2–3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 thick slices bread
- Preheat grill to high. Combine cheese, beer, mustard, butter, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce in a pan. Place over low heat and stir until cheese has melted and the mixture is a thick paste; it may not be very smooth, but that’s fine. Cool slightly until needed.
- Place bread under grill and toast it on one side. Spread the untoasted side with the cheese paste and return to the grill and cook until browned on top.
- Serve immediately with the remaining beer.