Welsh rarebit, sometimes known as Welsh rabbit, in its simplest form is an old English recipe for cheese on toast. It consists of a thick cheese sauce, spread over bread, and toasted until crisp and golden.
The Name Rarebit
Rarebit is the modern interpolation going back as far as the Victoriana era. Before it was known as Welsh rarebit, it was often called Welsh rabbit however, the name and spelling changed because Welsh rabbit, contained zero per cent rabbit.
The Welsh in the name may suggest a dish of Welsh origins, but it’s often considered a vulgar pejorative, suggesting only someone as poor as a Welsh man would eat such a simple dish. These jocular food names, while some may consider offensive, are actually found throughout old English cookery books.
Other Welsh Rarebit Interpretations
Buck Rarebit – denotes the use of an egg topping the original Welsh rarebit.
Blushing Bunny – denotes a rarebit sauce blended with tomatoes.
Making A Cheese Sauce for Welsh Rarebit
To make the Welsh rarebit sauce, we need to make a cheese sauce base, similar to that used in mac n cheese or a white sauce in lasagne. This base is known as bechamel and is one of the mother sauces in classical French cookery. However, for this recipe, the milk will be replaced with a good English ale.
To make the sauce, we first need to make a roux. A roux is a combination of melted butter and flour. The two ingredients combine to make a thick paste which will take on liquid and begin to thicken a sauce. At first, the roux and the liquid, in the recipe its ale, will remain a smooth paste but will begin to turn into a small sauce with more liquid. It’s important to keep stirring and to ad the liquid in batches. Refrain from adding more liquid until the last batch is fully incorporated with the roux.
Welsh Rarebit Loaded Fries.
- 400 g Potato Fries
- 25 g Plain Flour
- 25 g Salted Butter.
- 250 ml Ale
- 1 Tsp. English Mustard
- 150 g Strong English Cheddar Grated
- 1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- Salt To Taste
- Pinch Of Cayenne Pepper
- 5 g Fresh Parsley Chopped
- 5 g Chives Chopped
- Cook the fries according to the recipe.
- While the fries are cooking, melt the butter over medium heat and stir in the flour. Cook for 1 minute to remove the taste of the flour.
- Slowly stir in the ale. Adding in stages helps avoid lumps in the final sauce, by not adding too much liquid before the roux has combined with the ale.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt to taste.
- Preheat an overhead grill.
- When the fries are cooked, add them to a deep pie dish, and topped with the hot cheese sauce. Place under the grill and cook until golden brown, and bubbling.
- Finish topped with cayenne, chives, and parsley.