Welsh rarebit is another dish from my childhood that is widely underused in this day and age. Sometimes called Welsh rabbit, for no reason anyone understands, it’s a thick sauce of cheese and beer (and sometimes cream) usually ladled over a good whole grain or rye toast. Although it’s even better ladled over grilled summer tomatoes!
My ancient and falling-apart Joy of Cooking cookbook explains the name dilemma by saying “Our correspondence is closed on the subject of rarebit vs. rabbit. We stick to rarebit because rabbit already means something else. But we can only answer the controversy with a story. A stranger mollifying a small crying boy: “I wouldn’t cry that way if I were you!” Small boy: “You cry your way and I’ll cry mine.”
Here’s the simplest version of welsh rarebit (this is 6-8 servings. You can refrigerate any left & reheat it – it just gets thicker, which is not a bad thing) If you google it you can find some other good recipes that are more cream-sauce-based, thickened with flour, but this one is much more cheesy and the beer in it is just a lovely touch:
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 pound aged cheddar-type cheese, grated
- 1 cup beer (a good porter is best)
- 1 whole egg, beaten lightly
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- ~ 1 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- optional: 1/4 of pepper, red pepper, and/or paprika
Melt butter in a saucepan, stir in beer. When the beer is warm, stir in the cheese, stirring constantly until the cheese is melted. Add the beaten egg and other seasonings. Continue stirring constantly until all is well heated. Serve.