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Basic Welsh Rarebit with Beer


2 tablespoons butter
3 cups grated old Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon English dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground white or black pepper to taste (optional)
A dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup light beer or ale
4 slices hot buttered toast


  • Prepare toast crusts and warm serving plates. See tips below.
  • Beat egg yolks with beer or ale; set aside. Over boiling water melt butter and cheese together, stirring steadily with a wooden or plastic spoon in one direction only.
  • Add seasonings and do not interrupt your rhythmic stirring, as you pour in a bit at a time of the beer-and-egg mixture until it's all used up. It may take many minutes of constant stirring to achieve the essential creamy thickness and then some more to slick it out as smooth as velvet.
  • Keep it piping hot but don't let it bubble, for a boiled Rarebit is a spoiled Rarebit. Only unremitting stirring (and the best of cheese) will keep it from curdling, getting stringy or rubbery.
  • Pour the Rarebit generously over crisp, freshly buttered toast and serve instantly on hot plates.

Usually crusts are cut off the bread before toasting, and some aesthetes toast one side only, spreading the toasted side with cold butter for taste contrast.

This basic recipes can be made without eggs, although the beaten egg is a guarantee against stringiness. When the egg is missing, we are sad to record that a teaspoon or so of cornstarch mixed with milk generally takes its place.

Many Welsh Rarebit lovers have found that Tabasco sauce steps up the flavor of natural cheese and put it in at the start. We can only tell you, it is little used and needs a cautious hand, but some addicts can't leave it out any more than they can swear off the Worcestershire sauce.

When it comes to pepper you are fancy-free. As both black and white pepper are now held in almost equal esteem, you might equip your hutch with twin hand-mills to do the grinding fresh, for this is always worth the trouble.

Lay the toast on the hot plate, buttered side down, and pour the Rarebit over the porous untoasted side so it can soak in.

NOTE: Although the original bread for Rarebit toast was white, there is now no limit in choice among whole wheat, graham, rolls, muffins, buns, croutons and crackers, to infinity.


The Welsh Enter Heaven

The Lord had been complaining to St. Peter of the dearth of good singers in Heaven. "Yet," He said testily, "I hear excellent singing outside the walls. Why are not those singers here with me?"

St. Peter said, "They are the Welsh. They refuse to come in; they say they are happy enough outside, playing with a ball and boxing and singing such songs as 'Suspan Fach'"

The Lord said, "I wish them to come in here to sing Bach and Mendelssohn. See that they are in before sundown."

St. Peter went to the Welsh and gave them the commands of the Lord. But still they shook their heads. Harassed, St. Peter went to consult with St. David, who, with a smile, was reading the works of Caradoc Evans.

St. David said, "Try toasted cheese. Build a fire just inside the gates and get a few angels to toast cheese in front of it" This St. Peter did. The heavenly aroma of the sizzling, browning cheese was wafted over the walls and, with loud shouts, a great concourse of the Welsh came sprinting in. When sufficient were inside to make up a male voice choir of a hundred, St Peter slammed the gates. However, it is said that these are the only Welsh in Heaven.

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Helpful Tips

Rarebiteers are of two minds about fast and slow heating and stirring, so you'll have to adjust that to your own experience and rhythm. As a rule, the heat is reduced when the cheese is almost melted, and speed of stirring slows when the eggs and last ingredients go in.

Did You Know?

Another name for Welsh Rarebit is Welsh Rabbit. It is a dish made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and various other ingredients and served hot, after being poured over slices (or other pieces) of toasted bread, r the hot cheese sauce may be served in a chafing dish like a fondue, accompanied by sliced, toasted bread. The names of the dish originate from 18th-century Great Britain.

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