What is Welsh Rarebit?
Welsh Rarebit is More Than a Grilled Cheese!
While the origins of the name Welsh Rarebit or Rabbit are in dispute there is no denying it is a tasty and satisfying cheesy dish.
Consisting of bread and cheese there are other ingredients that make the recipe much more than a plain grilled cheese! There are many forms of the Welsh Rarebit recipe. Some may contain beer or ale, mustard and flour or not.
Common to all is the use of bread and cheese. In other words it's a 'posh' cheese on toast!
There are varying ways to present this dish. It makes an excellent lunch dish, an easy snack and what better way to eat it than with a beer or wine? A great pub snack! Warming and comforting on a cold evening.
In this lens you will find my own recipe.
Rarebit or Rabbit?
Welsh Rarebit is also known as Welsh Rabbit but there is debate on exactly how that name came about. Some say it is a mispronunciation of the word rarebit.
There is speculation that the name was coined at a time in history when the Welsh were particularly poor and only gentry and the wealthy could afford to buy meat. In England rabbit was the poor man’s meat and in Wales cheese was the poor man’s meat. The first recorded Welsh Rabbit was in 1725. However there appear to have been references to toasted cheese favoured by the Welsh as far back as 1526.
If an egg is added on the top of this dish it becomes known as a Buck Rabbit or Golden Buck, If the the mixture has tomato added to it the name then becomes a Blushing Bunny!
In eighteenth century cookbooks there are also recipes for English Rabbit, Irish Rabbit and Scotch (Scottish?) Rabbit but no RAREBIT!
Have you ever heard of Welsh Rarebit or Rabbit?
A Gluten Free Recipe Book - ...that has Welsh Rarebit!
I'm not sure that you need to slow cook a Welsh Rarebit! LOL. However this well thought of recipe book does contain a recipe for a Gluten free version of Welsh Rarebit.
While the recipes are dedicated to slow cooking other methods of cooking can be used. A must cook book for the gluten intolerant.
Total Time: Abot 10 minutes
Serves: 4 or as a smaller savory will serve 8
- 4 - 6 slices of buttered toast
- 1 oz (25 g) butter
- 1 oz (25 g) flour
- 150 ml (1/4 pint) milk
- 8 oz (225 g) grated Cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon ready made mustard
- 1 tablespoon beer or Worcester Sauce
- salt and pepper
- Heat the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook steadily for several minutes. Gradually add the cold milk, stirring until smooth and thick. Add the mustard, salt and pepper, most of the cheese and beer or Worcester sauce. Heat until cheese melts but do not cook too quickly or fast otherwise the cheese will become oily. Spread on the toast and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Place under the grill until brown.
- The cheesy mixture can be stored in the fridge in jars for a few days.
Rarebit / Rabbit Variations
- Irish Rarebit includes a teaspoon of vinegar rather than beer. It also has chopped gherkins.
- Buck Rarebit is topped with a poached egg.
- Yorkshire Rarebit is done the same as for Welsh Rarebit but includes cooked ham.
Lea and Perrins Worcester Sauce
This is the original Worcestershire sauce and the only one I like to use. Any other Worcester sauce just doesn't do it for me. This is a true British classic and is made in the UK.
My husband won't have any other Worcester Sauce!
Do you think you will make this recipe?
Sprinkle with grated cheese and place under the grill to brown.
Photo by Lyn Bell