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Welsh rarebit - Fine Dining Lovers

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Welsh rarebit

For the ultimate cheesy comfort food, look no further than the delicious Welsh rarebit. More than a simple cheese on toast recipe, the additional cooking time is worth it for an indulgent and warming snack or lunchtime option. Read on to discover our favourite way to make this recipe at home.

13 September, 2023
Average: 4 (2 votes)

serves for

2

total time

0 HR 30 MIN

ingredients

Beer
120ml / 4 oz - Brown ale
Unsalted butter
25g / 0.9 oz
Plain flour
25g / 0.9 oz
Cheddar
140g / 4.9 oz - mature
English mustard
1 tsp / 0.2 oz
Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp / 0.5 oz
Chives
1 tbsp / 0.5 oz
Sourdough
2 slices
Black pepper
To taste

Step 01

In a saucepan, warm the brown ale over a low heat, then set aside.

Step 02

In a separate saucepan melt the unsalted butter over a medium heat, until it begins to gently foam. Then add the plain flour and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.

Step 03

Whisk in the warm ale gradually to create a sauce. Then whisk in the grated cheddar cheese to create a thick paste. Stir in the English mustard, Worcestershire sauce and chopped chives throughout the sauce.

Step 04

Turn on the grill to the highest heat. Add the slices of sourdough bread to a flat baking sheet and grill until golden brown. Then flip the bread over and carefully spread the cheese mixture onto the bread. Return under the grill for around 2 minutes until the cheese mixture is bubbling. Serve whilst hot with black pepper on top.

 

Tips & tricks

The trick to making a traditional Welsh rarebit perfectly is ensuring the consistency of the sauce becomes a thick paste that’s easy to spread onto the bread. We’ve shared an example with ale above, but it’s possible to make Welsh rarebit recipes without beer. Some recipes will switch out the beer for milk, starting with a basic béchamel sauce to create the paste. You can also opt for a recipe with both milk and beer, if you’d like to vary the ingredients and final flavour.

Ideal on its own, or served alongside a fresh salad. It’s classically made as a lunchtime dish, so there’s no need to overcomplicate it! Enjoy whilst hot and tuck into the cheesy indulgence. It’s traditionally made with mature cheddar, but if you’re keen to experiment take a look at our ultimate cheese guide to discover an alternative for your Welsh rarebit recipe.

Origin of the recipe

First recorded in the early 18th Century, it’s thought that the original name of the dish, Welsh rabbit, was attributed to the recipe as a small joke. Towards the end of the 18th Century, as the dish gained popularity, the name changed to Welsh rarebit as a more fitting title for the recipe (and less confusing!) Whilst this is the first recording of the Welsh rarebit as we know it today, it’s widely assumed the dish was enjoyed as early as the 1500s, under a different name of ‘caws pobi’ which translates literally to toasted cheese.

Difference between Welsh rarebit and cheese on toast

With a confusing recipe name, it’s no wonder that people often ask what is Welsh rarebit? Whilst similar to cheese on toast, it’s a more elevated version. Cheese on toast is quite literally melted slices of cheese on toast under the grill. Where Welsh rarebit is set apart is in the creation of a delicious cheesy paste that’s then spread onto the bread. It’s a much creamier and more indulgent version of the dish, that only requires a little additional prep time. Typically, alongside mustard, other spices and flavours can be added to the sauce prior to grilling, unlike with cheese on toast where usually only a splash of Worcestershire sauce or black pepper is added for flavour.

Across the world there’s a whole host of interpretations of ways to consume cheese and bread. If you’re keen to try a few more at home take a look at the most popular cheese and bread dishes in different countries, from a classic American grilled cheese sandwich to a Swiss cheese fondue.

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