Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welsh Rarebit (Actually doesn't involve any rabbits...)

Welsh Rarebit from Alton Brown
Welsh Rarebit is the only Welsh recipe I'd ever heard of.  Unfortunately, I had no idea what it was.  After extensive Googling, I was able to determine that Welsh Rarebit is a dish made with a sauce of melted cheese and served hot over toasted bread.  So for dinner one night I prepared the best version I found, from Simple Bites.  Here it is!




Welsh Rarebit
You'll need:
1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pilsner beer, or other light beer
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, coarsely grated (about 1-1/2 cups)
  1. Lightly beat yolk in a medium heatproof bowl.
  2. Melt remaining 2 Tablespoons butter in a small heavy saucepan over moderately low heat.
  3. Add flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute.
  4. Add beer and milk, whisking constantly, then whisk in mustard and pepper. Bring to a simmer, whisking, and cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Gradually add cheese and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk into beaten yolk until combined.
  6. Serve hot, with bread and/or vegetables.
Now, the traditional way to eat Welsh Rarebit is with bread.  The recipe I found says to pour it over vegetables instead (asparagus and mushrooms).  Rarebit is actually very similar to fondue in this way; you can eat it with pretty much anything.  Melted cheese is always good.  I made a pot of it and decided to put it by the dinner table.  We ate it with bread, vegetables, even chicken!  Delicious.
Keep in mind the one thing that gives this recipe its flavor: the beer.  Because I didn't have a wide variety of beers available, I used Magic Hat.  That beer has a distinct, smoky flavor, and therefore so did the rarebit.  Be very conscious of which beer you select because that will ultimately determine the flavor.  Other than that, this cheesy goodness is easy to make with ingredients that I already had in my kitchen.
Try it on a cool evening with just about anything!
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