Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
September 3rd is Welsh Rarebit Day. What’s a Rarebit? Why is it Welsh? And isn’t it just a grilled cheese sandwich?
Originally Welsh Rarebit was called Welsh Rabbit. But just as mock turtle soup is void of any turtle. Welsh Rabbit is void of any rabbit. That’s right, no rabbit. It appears that making fun of Whales and it’s inhabitants was all the rage in the 17th and 18th centuries. thus a Welsh pearl was one of poor quality, or fake, a Welsh comb meant you used your fingers). Welsh rabbit? Cheese was the poor mans rabbit.
Welsh Rarebit is basically a cheese sauce poured over toast. So why are there so many different ways to prepare it? Everybody wants to be a chef. Therefore you can use any cheese or any bread that you, the chef, wants. You could take some croutons and squirt on some Cheese Wiz and BOOM
you have Welsh Rarebit.
What one puts into the cheese sauce also accounts for all the varieties. Most start with a béchamel sauce as the base. You add the seasoning and the cheese to make a thick cheese sauce.I’m using Worcestershire sauce, mustard, smoked paprika and some dark ale.
I had just watched a video that was shot in Whales. The Welsh man interviewed was a cheese maker and said the best cheese comes from raw milk. And there is was at Ingles, a Vermont Cheddar made with raw milk and aged one year.
I also used another aged cheddar to give the sauce the color I was seeking. The bread I used was a Cheese Bread made at the Amish Bakery on the way to Cleveland GA.
I like my sauce thick so the proportions I used to make the rarebit resulted in a very thick sauce. If you want a thinner sauce, cut back on the amount of roux you use or add additional milk and/or beer.
This recipe I’m using is enough for 8 single servings or 4 servings with 2 slices of bread.
What you’ll need
8 Slices of Cheese Bread (or bread of your choice) toasted
4 – Tablespoons ¼ cup Butter
4 – Tablespoons ¼ cup Flour
(that’s your roux)
3/4 to one cup Whole Milk
1/2 to ¾ cup dark Belgian style beer.
2 teaspoon (heaping) English Mustard. Dijon will do
1/2 teaspoon smoked Paprika
4-6 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
12-14 ounces of Mature Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Grated
Chopped chives for garnish.
Taste first then adjust salt and pepper
Start by making the roux
Melt 4 TBL butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Sprinkle in 4 TBL flour and whisk together until combined.
Cook over low heat for a couple of minutes to eliminate the flour taste.
You don’t want to brown the roux.
Slowly Pour in the milk whisking continually to make a smooth sauce.
This is a basic béchamel sauce.
When the milk in incorporated add the beer, whisk and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the mustard, smoked paprika, and Worcestershire sauce
At this point if you like spice you can add a couple of pinches of cayenne or favorite liquid hot sauce.
Continue whisking and add. the cheese in small batches and whisk slowly to incorporate
Continue to add cheese until you get the desired thickness.
At this time taste the sauce and see if you’ll need to add salt and/or pepper.
cook for a couple of minutes or until smooth, melted, and very hot.
Turn off the heat. If you’re going to use an egg yolk this is when you would whisk in the egg quickly. You don’t want to have a cooked egg yolk floating in your sauce.
Pour over your toast and sprinkle with chopped chives and serve immediately
There you have it.
Redneck Rarebit Using the same directions above except you’ll use a homemade or quality local pimento cheese. The sauce is poured over hot biscuits. I added additional fresh roasted red peppers to the sauce and sprinkled some on top for garnish. WOW this was amazing!