Saturday, March 27, 2010

Welsh Rarebit

This is a traditional British dish ... I'd had it once before in Toronto at Madeline's, served as an appetizer with a duxelle. The dish (normally minus the duxelle) is really just a cheese sauce on toast. It's very quick and easy to make. It might not look the prettiest, but damn is it a cheesy, savoury delight!

  • rye bread, about 4-6 slices
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheese ... I used a combo of Shropshire and aged cheddar, but you can really use just about any sharp cheese (one recipe suggests Gruyere or Comte)
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like the heat)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup strong dark beer, like Guinness (I used Hockley Stout - it had a really nice flavour with a hint of chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste (I put a bit much Worchestershire, hence the colour, so I'd suggest a bit less to start)
  1. Put butter in a saucepan over medium heat and, as it melts, stir in flour. Continue to cook, whisking until golden brown and very fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in mustard and cayenne, then whisk in beer and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. When mixture is uniform and has thickened to alomost a paste, turn heat to low and stir in cheese, again stirring until smooth. At this point you can put it straight onto the bread, or remove from heat and pour into a broad container to set (you can refrigerate for up to a day at this point).
  3. Spread mixture thickly on toast and put under broiler until bubbly and edges of toast are crisp. Serve immediately with a nice pint of beer and enjoy! :)

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