Welsh rarebit, or rabbit, is a traditional twist on the classic cheese on toast. In truth, I don’t suppose this is a dish confined to our small corner of the world, since English rarebit, Scotch rarebit and Irish rarebit also exist. However, I’m not certain if those rarebits made in the other corners of the British Isles bare the exact credentials of the well-known Welsh version. It is important to highlight that the original dish was called Welsh rabbit, rather than rarebit. It makes sense, perhaps, that the name was changed to distinguish it as a non-meat dish.
The reasons behind this post go beyond the fact that this is both delicious and traditionally Welsh: the recipe itself needs to be established. I’ve seen many a recipe for Welsh rarebit during my time on WordPress, but only a few have prepared it correctly. This fabulously delicious lunch-time meal should contain only mustard, cheddar cheese, brown ale and butter, nothing less, nothing more. Any recipe which makes use of paprika or cayenne pepper, is taking itself a little too seriously. Believe me, this is a good example of less-is-more. Both the yellow English mustard and the red Welsh mustard are acceptable in this recipe. Please don’t use the dreaded American mustard, which is a rather sorry excuse for the popular condiment. Once again, sorry America – you do take a beating here, don’t you?
• 100g mature cheddar cheese
• ½ tsp English or Welsh mustard
• 2-4 tbsp brown ale, depending on the desired consistency
• A small knob of butter
• Two slices of wholegrain bread
1. Melt a little butter in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the cheese, ale and mustard and cook over a low heat until the cheese has melted.
2. While the cheese is melting toast both sides of your bread, under a grill. Once the cheese has melted spoon the mixture over the toasted bread. Return to the grill and allow the rarebit to brown.
Cost: In Britain 100g of good, mature cheddar can be found for as little as 55p. If one is successful in this exploit this dish should set one back a mere 70p. Not bad considering it will provide a filling lunch for two.
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