Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit

An open-face toasted cheese sandwich, extra savory

Welsh Rarebit – a/k/a Welsh Rabbit – is comfort food with savor. It’s quick and easy to make too, so it’s perfect for a weeknight dinner. Or maybe a midnight snack.

Fast and flavorful, this dish will put a twitch in any bunny’s nose.


Welsh Rarebit

Recipe: Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit traditionally uses beer or ale as an ingredient, and we prefer it that way. But some recipes substitute milk or cream, which is ideal for those who prefer not to use alcohol in cooking – see Notes for that version.

We like to garnish this dish with fried bacon. It looks nice and adds extra heft. Want even more gravitas? A Fried Egg garnish would be wonderful. As would a Poached Egg. BTW, when Welsh Rarebit is served with an egg on top, it’s sometimes called Buck Rabbit or Golden Buck.

This dish takes no more than 15 minutes to prepare.

The recipe makes about 4 servings. Leftover cheese sauce keeps for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

Ingredients
  • toast for serving (1 to 2 pieces per serving; see Notes)
  • bacon for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard (to taste; start with 1)
  • ¾ to 1 cup beer (see Notes; a darker beer is traditional)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
  • 8 ounces cheese, grated (preferably cheddar)
  • hot sauce to taste (optional)
  • salt to taste (optional)
  • chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
Procedure
  1. The sauce for Welsh Rarebit takes just a few minutes to make, and you’ll want to serve it immediately. So you need to have the toast and bacon garnish (if using) ready to go. For making toast, you can just use the trusty toaster. Or layer the bread on a baking sheet and slide it under the broiler in your oven until lightly browned (you can butter the bread if you want; that adds extra goodness, and we recommend it). For preparing the bacon: Pan fry it if you wish, or microwave it.
  2. Make the cheese sauce: First make a roux. Use a 2-quart pan (preferably one with a sloping bottom, like a Windsor pan or a saucier). Melt the butter over medium stovetop heat. Then add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute (use a wire whisk or wooden spoon). Cook an additional 2 minutes, stirring the butter/flour mixture every 30 seconds or so. Cook longer if you like a darker roux; we often cook it for 5 minutes total. (In between stirs, you can grate the cheese, chop the parsley, and tend to the toast and bacon.)
  3. Now whisk the mustard into the roux. Add the beer and Worcestershire sauce, then cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cheese, and continue stirring until it’s melted. Taste the sauce and add hot sauce (if using) to taste. Add salt if needed.
  5. To serve, cut the toast slices in half and arrange them attractively on individual serving plates. Cover the toast with sauce, then add some chopped parsley for garnish if you wish. Top with a slice of bacon, if using. Serve and enjoy.
Welsh Rarebit

Notes
  • What kind of beer to use? Whatever you have on hand! Many cooks use a darker beer like porter or stout, but we find the flavor too heavy. We generally use an ale. We don’t suggest using an IPA, though – the flavor is too hoppy in this recipe, at least for us. 
  • How much beer to use? We find that ¾ cup of beer makes for a fairly thick sauce, which we like. If you want a thinner sauce, use 1 cup of beer.
  • If you don’t want to use beer, just substitute milk. Or cream if you’re going for a particularly rich dish.
  • We’ve also seen recipes that substitute tomato juice for beer. In which case the dish often is called a Blushing Bunny.
  • You can probably substitute all sorts of liquids for beer. Some cooks use cider. White wine would take the sauce in a different (but tasty) direction. And who knows what red wine would do? Play with your food – it’s fun.
  • Cheddar cheese is traditional in this dish. But you can substitute any cheese that will melt.
  • The more mustard and Worcestershire sauce you use, the more strongly flavored the dish will be. We suggest starting with less. You can always add more to taste.
  • BTW, you can substitute dried mustard powder if you like. We suggest using ½ to 1 teaspoon.
  • Some recipes call for using an egg yolk or two in the sauce. We’ve never made Welsh Rarebit that way, but it may be worth a try. These recipes often skip the flour, since the egg yolks will thicken the dish.
  • Toast is the traditional base for this dish, but you could substitute biscuits, English muffins, whatever.
  • Toasting bread under the broiler is the easiest way to produce a whole batch of toast in a short period of time. If you’re using this method, you may want to butter one side of each piece for extra lusciousness. 
  • BTW, we think white or light wheat bread makes the best toast for this dish. But whole wheat works, too.
  • If your serving plates are heatproof, you can run the plated dishes under the broiler for a minute or so to brown the top of the cheese. Or even use a kitchen torch.
  • Rarebit or rabbit? Danged if we know! This dish dates back to 18th century Britain, and probably was called rabbit originally. But over the years, the name has been changed to rarebit. Maybe because there’s no rabbit in the dish? Or because folks thought it sounded more refined? Beats us. Call it whatever makes you happy.
Welsh Rarebit

All Ears

“Yum,” said Mrs Kitchen Riffs. “This makes my cottontail wiggle.”

“So you don’t think this is a hare-brained dish?” I said.

“I’d say it’s the big cheese of sandwiches,” said Mrs K R.

“I’m happy as Peter Rabbit in a carrot patch,” I said.

“Watch out for Mr McGregor,” said Mrs K R. “While he’s chasing you, I’ll just finish off this last bit of cheese sauce.”

“If he catches me, I’ll be toast,” I said.

“Even a rabbit’s foot won’t save you,” said Mrs K R. “It didn’t help the rabbit much, after all.”

True. Hare today, gone tomorrow.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Fried Egg
Poached Egg
Pimento Cheese
Beer Bread
Easy No-Knead Homemade Bread
Homemade Whole Wehat Bread
Homemade Butter
Or check out the index for more

76 comments:

  1. Easy, fuss free, and so wonderfully delicious! Can't take my eyes off from the melted cheese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Angie, isn't this a great recipe? LOADED with flavor, and so quick and easy to make. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  2. Beer, cheese, bacon? What's not to love? And no, bacon is never optional at our house. It's required! Great, simple recipe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Terry, bacon is never optional here, either. Love the stuff! And this is a neat recipe -- really easy and truly tasty. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  3. Yes please!!! This one has me drooling.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam, it's definitely drool-worthy. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  4. I love that you make so many classic dishes and cocktails. I have heard so much about rarebit and can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laura, maybe we make so many old classics because we're old classics? :D This is really good -- you'll love it! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  5. I need this NOW! And bacon is so much better than a tomato on the top! In any case this cheesey sauce with toast is pure comfort food to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Abbe, we really like molten cheese on toast, too. Topped by bacon, of course. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  6. It's the most confusing name, I always think there should be rabbit in it lol. But even without ;-) it really does look delicious and love the added fried bacon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Evelyne, it does seem as if it should have rabbit, doesn't it? The history of the name of this dish is definitely confusing. But its flavor isn't -- really good stuff! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  7. I think I have some bacon in the freezer. Maybe I make it with prosciutto. You are making me hungry John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gerlinde, prosciutto is an outstanding idea! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  8. What a wonderfully rich and decadent dish, perfect for the chilly days we are still having. Love that it's a cheese sauce as opposed to just grated cheese, the beer and added flavourings must make this dish taste out of this world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eva, the beer adds such a terrific flavor! And of course the cook gets to drink the rest of the bottle. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  9. I'm drawn to the egg and bacon version. A dinner everyone will enjoy! or the best brunch ever!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Deb, garnishing with both egg and bacon is total comfort food! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  10. Wow this looks amazing. You said it was good for dinner or a midnight snack but would I be breaking all the rules if I had this for breakfast!? I could start my day with this!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dahn, sure have this for breakfast! It'd taste wonderful. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  11. I'm swooning over all that cheese! This sounds delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelsie, it IS delicious! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  12. I have never eaten this dish despite seeing it from childhood. Your Welsh Rarebit is so pretty you have convinced me to try this, with beer. Another great offering thanks John 😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Merryn, this is really good! And you'll have fun playing with the amount of mustard, hot sauce, etc. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  13. Beer and cheese and hot sauce and bacon - what's not to LOVE?! Great easy recipe that I could devour about now :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tricia, easy and really tasty -- winner! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  14. OMG! John, we are feeling weak in the knees looking at your delicious photos. This is some serious comfort food. Bacon, cheese, beer. Boys are going to love this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bobbi, this does have your boys' name on it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  15. This looks sooooo delicious and doable. I know my teens are going to love these!! Bookmarked!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Minnie, good to see you again! And your teens will devour this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  16. Have never had Welsh Rabbit before. In fact I didn't know much about it. Beer? That sounds good already. Beer and cheese? Sounds like one of my favorite soups - beer cheese soup. But of course, it's the bacon that sells it. :) I need to finally give this a try. Thanks John!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MJ, once you try this, you'll kick yourself that you didn't try it sooner. And beer, cheese, and bacon is a wonderful combo. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  17. What an interesting name for an open-faced sandwich. It looks yummy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Denise, the name is kind of a mystery, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  18. Oh yum. I haven’t had this since my mum used to make it when we were kids I’ve tried to make it myself but it never works. I must try this one. Cheers sherry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sherry, this is such a neat dish! We tried a lot of version to get the flavor profile that we liked. You may have to play a bit with ingredients and quantities to get it exactly the way you like. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  19. I’ve never made this! What’s not to love about it. Comfort food at its best. YUM!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vicki, you'll love this! Just a knife-and-fork toasted cheese sandwich. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  20. This is definitely not hare-brained! It's a perfect sandwich with a great use of cheese! Haven't made it in ages, but that will change soon after seeing this, John. Love your version!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam, such a fun dish, isn't it? And SO good! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  21. This is such a great recipe, one of my lunch favourites!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, so easy and so good -- terrific dish! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  22. 15 minutes? Now you're speaking my language! Love that bacon on top!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley, bacon is always good, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  23. Wait, where's the actual RABIT?!?!?! OH WAIT, it's RAREBIT! LOL!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi GiGi, it'd be interesting to make an actual rabbit version of this, wouldn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  24. My husband would definitely approve! Bacon, beer, cheese---what's not to love???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Liz, bet you'd like this too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  25. I don't know how it is that I've never tried this dish. It's right up my alley. I guess I better "hop" to it and give this recipe a try. GREG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Greg, definitely hop to it. :-) You'll really like this, I think. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  26. Haven't made this in ages, but I love it. True comfort food, especially when made with ale or beer. Definitely the way to go...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Frank, beer and cheese is such a great combo, isn't it? And this is a great dish! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  27. Oh, so that's Welsh rarebit! I've heard of it, but never have had it. It sounds easy enough - and delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff, you'd love this! And I baked the bacon for the dish -- your favorite way of preparing it, I know. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  28. Yes please! 2 servings for my breakfast

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Raymund, that'd be a terrific breakfast! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  29. All the best food groups -- in one. Well, except for chocolate. If you could find a way to work that in, then every base would be covered. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Carolyn, I'll have to work on the chocolate! :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  30. This looks right up in my alley! Will try to make it this week. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Peachy, you'll love this! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  31. I was so confused the first time I saw the word - rarebit! Was it a mispelling??!!! An odd name, but so is Cullen Skink and Bubble and Squeak! This is wonderful and so appealing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mimi, rarebit is definitely an odd word. But such a good dish! Thanks for the comment .

      Delete
  32. I'd be happy as Peter Rabbit in a carrot patch, too -- this looks soooo good! I haven't made this in a gazillion, but I'll try this version soon. I'll probably use Newcastle Brown Ale for it. Wonder how it'd be with my homemade sourdough bread? Pinning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jean, this would be fantastic with your homemade sourdough bread. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  33. Easy, peasy, this is great any time of the day. Thanks John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amira, we love easy, tasty dishes. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  34. One of the classics that I've never tried...sounds good topped with bacon. By the way, your answer to Laura about "old classics" gave me a real chuckle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, :-) Bacon makes everything better. And this is a terrific -- and easy! -- dish. Bet you'll like it. Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  35. Can you believe this is something I've actually never had?! It's looks amazing, especially with that crispy bacon on top!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy, bacon gets all of us every time, doesn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  36. I've heard about this dish forever and I've never made it, John. Now that I've seen it, I have to have it! It looks amazing, thanks for sharing the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marcelle, isn't this a nice looking dish? And its flavor is even better! Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  37. This is the kind of dish I love to enjoy after work, quick, easy and most of all tasty. Yum :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emma, this is a wonderful weeknight dish -- so quick and easy, and so full of flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  38. Oh, this is my kind of comfort food! So perfectly delicious and flavorful. Love your photos, John!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Robyn, this is a wonderful dish! So full of flavor, and very soothing. :-) Thanks for the comment.

      Delete