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Welsh Rarebit is an amazing cheese sauce made with a nutty roux, beer, sharp cheddar, mustard, nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne. This cheesy goodness is drizzled over toasted bread, extra cheesiness for me please! This easy and tasty recipe is traditional pub fare dating back to the 1700’s. If you don’t want beer, just substitute wine or apple cider, easy!
What is Welsh Rarebit?
Good question! Being an American from across the pond, I am not the authority on Welsh Rarebit, a British comfort food with a nod to the Welsh for their love of all things cheese! So naturally I consulted my favorite resource of all things unknown to me, Wikipedia.
I am lacking in the British friend department so I turned to the internet after first reading about Welsh Rarebit in my Milk Street Kitchen periodical. After reading a bunch of variations on Welsh Rarebit and watching countless YouTube videos, I went down a virtual ‘rarebit trail’ and I was ready to dive right in.
Welsh Rarebit is a savory cheese sauce that is served over toasted bread. If you ‘put an egg on it’, it is known as a Buck Rarebit or a Golden Buck.
The most common variation of Welsh Rarebit is made with a medium to dark beer, mustard, cayenne and sharp cheddar cheese. All of this goodness is added to a roux which is fat and flour cooked until golden over medium heat while whisking constantly.
Welsh Rarebit Variations
Other variations of Rarebit include adding the cheddar cheese and mustard to a béchamel sauce.
You can also make Welsh Rarebit with tomatoes, asparagus, leeks, bacon, ham, onion or spinach.
If you want to make Welsh Rarebit without beer you can substitute apple cider. I have made it with white wine once and it was delicious.
I think it would be fantastic to serve Welsh Rarebit with tomato soup! What do you think?
Why is it called Welsh Rarebit?
Well, that depends on who you ask. Rarebit seems to be a corruption of the word rabbit, first recorded in 1725. There is no other use of the word rarebit other than in this dish.
Legend has it that peasants weren’t allowed to hunt rabbit on crown-owned lands and had little access to rabbit. Rarebit may have been invented to substitute rabbit with another dish that looked the same. Calling it Welsh is believed to be either a reference to the Welsh being perceived as foreign or inferior by the Brits or a nod to the Welsh’s love of cheese. There was a similar dish in South Wales that included bread and melted cheese.
Francis Grose first defined the term Welsh Rarebit in his book, A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue in 1785.
What IS certain, is that people agree to disagree. What is your take on Welsh Rarebit? Leave a comment and let me know. Also share some rarebit recipes if you have any, I would be delighted to hear how other people make theirs!
I hope you find this article useful and the following recipe devine:) If you LOVE cheese, I double dog dare you to make this easy recipe!
P.S. Did you know that September 3rd is National Welsh Rarebit Day? Yup! It’s official:) So if you make this dish, share on social media with #NationalWelshRarebitDay…
Starting the roux with butter and flour.
Perfect golden color and nutty smell! Done:)
Now add your liquid, stir, add rest of ingredients…
Ready to pour! Bon Appetit:)
Welsh Rarebit is an amazing cheese sauce made with a nutty roux, beer, sharp cheddar, mustard, nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne. This cheesy goodness drizzled over toasted bread, extra cheesiness for me please! This easy and tasty recipe is traditional pub fare dating back to the 1700's. If you don't want beer, just substitute wine or apple cider, easy!
- 3 Tbs all purpose flour
- 3 Tbs salted butter
- 1 cup of beer, your choice but an amber or dark is best (may sub white wine or apple cider)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
- 8 oz sharp cheddar
- chives, chopped for garnish
- 1 baguette cut into 1 inch slices
- In a medium sauce pan heat butter and flour over medium heat and stir constantly with a whisk until the roux turns a golden color and smells nutty.
- Add beer and stir well with whisk. Add pepper, cayenne, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and nutmeg, bring to a simmer.
- Add cheddar and stir well. Continue to cook until cheese is melted and sauce is well developed.
- Turn heat to low and stir occasionally while toasting baguette.
- Toast baguette either in a conventional toaster, toaster oven or under a broiler until golden. You may also toast bread in a skillet by coating bread with a light coat of olive oil or butter and browning on one side.
- Serve by plating bread, drizzling or pouring amazing cheese sauce over bread and sprinkle with chives.
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