Welsh Rarebit Recipe

Welsh Rabbit: Cheese, it’s Good

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There is no actual rabbit in this dish. The name is properly Rarebit, but most people hear that as rabbit, so that’s become the common name for it. There is, though, a lot of cheese in it, and that’s why I made it. My dear First Reader loves cheese, and on a shopping trip not too long ago, both of us grabbed cheese that was on sale and it wasn’t until we were home that we discovered the duplication. Never too much cheese, he told me, gloating over his varied hoard. It will go bad, I said. So make something with it, he suggested, shifting cheeses in the drawer so they would all fit.

Summer meal al fresco
Welsh Rarebit, roasted cauliflower, and Pear Cider

Somewhat later, and a loaf of homemade bread made the day before, I made this with some of it. Like so many of my recipes, it’s easy to joggle it around a little, subbing in different flavors to make this dish different every time you serve it. Lighter beer, darker beer, vary the cheeses, use several cheese-ends up. It’s all good.

Welsh Rarebit
It’s done when it’s thick enough to be slow dripping off the whisk.

Don’t expect your rabbit to be yellowy-orange, unless you use all cheddar. Ours was beige, between the Dunkel beer and the Gruyere and Monterrey Jack cheeses. It might not look like much, but there is a lot of flavor in this! We had ours with homemade bread, lightly toasted, and roasted cauliflower.

Grated Cheese
A lump of shredded yumminess… I cheat and use my food processor with the grater blade when I’m doing this much at once

Roasted cauliflower is very easy to make, and so rewarding. Even if you think you don’t like cauliflower, you should try this. Simply cut a head of cauliflower into roughly bite-sized florets (you do know cauliflower is a giant flower-bud?) and place in a baking dish, not too crowded (I use a 9×13″ pan for one head) and drizzle with olive oil and vinegar (balsamic works nicely, but so does red wine vinegar and rice wine, it’s all about what you want). Toss to coat the florets and put into a 400 deg F oven for twenty minutes. Toss again and put back in the oven for another twenty minutes. Test with a fork, if they are tender then they are done, or given them another ten minutes. I will sometimes throw in a sprig or two of thyme.

Welsh Rarebit Recipe
Sorrel leaves for a little color, and they are a nice acidic balance to the rich cheese sauce.



11 responses to “Welsh Rabbit: Cheese, it’s Good”

  1. Deja Voodoo Avatar
    Deja Voodoo

    “The name is properly Rarebit”
    No, it is “rabbit” – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=rarebit
    Hunting prohibited – why do you suppose so many British folksongs are about poachers?
    Got a recipe for mock turtle soup?

    1. It’s a cyclic thing, I’m learning. Started rabbit, became rarebit, and now here I was jokingly calling it rabbit.

      I don’t have a recipe for Mock turtle, got one to share?

  2. Deja Voodoo Avatar
    Deja Voodoo

    I have a centuries old recipe for rabbit stew, if you are interested.

    1. Sadly, I can’t keep rabbits any longer – I’m allergic to their dander. I can eat the meat, so if I found a source, I’d love the recipe.

  3. Nice recipe. And it’s something I can actually eat, so long as I substituted for the flour and didn’t serve it over toast. (I’m diabetic.)

    1. It went very nicely over the roasted cauliflower! The flour is a thickener, arrowroot or cornstarch would work, or you could just have it a bit runnier (more saucy!).

  4. Jonathan R. Lightfoot Avatar
    Jonathan R. Lightfoot

    Do you have any advice for people who don’t drink? And have no clues about using beer and other alcoholic beverages in their cooking?

    1. Even if you don’t drink, using a beer in food doesn’t lend alcohol to the dish – it cooks off at a relatively low heat. That being said, what the beer lends to this dish is liquid, and a certain bitterness of flavor. You could get that by adding some stock in place of the liquid, and maybe pick up the amount of mustard, it won’t taste the same, but then again, you won’t know the difference.

      1. Jonathan R. Lightfoot Avatar
        Jonathan R. Lightfoot

        I don’t have anything specifically against using a beer in cooking, but I’d be clueless in what beer to choose, obviously. You say beers lend bitterness? So they are bitter? Something I didn’t know — and probably a reason I wouldn’t enjoy drinking them 😉

      2. Reality Observer Avatar
        Reality Observer

        Hmm. I would say that beer is more for the “yeasty” flavor it adds (particularly dark beers), as well as the remnant sugars that caramelize. Some bitterness, yes, but that’s a side effect. Wine has a different set of “other” flavors to add, as well as the caramelization effect. (Which reminds me, need to check on my stock of red – making pepper steak tonight.)

        1. I think I’ll wind up doing a blog about substitutions for alcoholic ingredients soon – there’s a handy chart, but I think it’s worthy of more discussion as I sparked quite the conversation elsewhere with this question.