Monday, January 18, 2010

Welsh Rarebit...More Comfort Food!

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Photo: Rea Drummond

Welsh Rarebit or Welsh Rabbit is a traditional English dish often eaten as a midnight snack.  I love to have it for lunch or as a light supper when we've had a heavy midday meal.  For some reason, it reminds me of our life in Connecticut and of my father who simply adored it.  Perhaps that is why it came to mind last week after the light dusting of snow we had on the ground here in North Georgia.

The dish is said to have originated in Wales in the 18th century. The first recorded use of the term Welsh Rabbit was in 1725, but the origin of the term is unknown. It may be an ironic name coined in the days when the Welsh were notoriously poor;  only better-off people could afford butcher's meat, and while in England rabbit was the poor man's meat, in Wales the poor man's meat was cheese.

Welsh Rarebit is a vintage throwback to Sunday dinners and cocktail parties in the 1950’s. I’m certain this is why I remember the dish being so popular in my home.  Also, if you come home with a hangover, this will take care of it  in no time.  Just make sure you always have some in the freezer, whether it's your own or the one made by Stouffer's which is pretty darn good.   Leftovers are great over steamed cauliflower or broccoli and kids just adore it...must be the beer!

Serves 4


1 pound Cheddar, Double Gloucester or other English cheese, grated
6 tablespoons butter
2 tsps. Dijon mustard, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
4 tsps. Worcestershire sauce, or to taste

1 12 oz bottle  strong dark beer, like Guinness
4 egg yoks
4 to 8 pieces lightly toasted bread
1/4 tsp paprika


1. Put butter in a saucepan on top of a double boiler over medium heat and ad grated cheese, mustard, cayene and Worcestershire sauce. Beat eggs into the beer and add to the melting cheesse.  Cook until smooth. Taste for seasonings and adjust to desired sharpness.

2. Remove from heat and pour over toast.  Sprinkle some paprika on top.  Serve immediately.

Note:   You can also put under the broiler until bubbly after you pour over toast.
Please use a good dark beer like Guiness stout...light American beer just won't do!


  1. You brought back memories! I've not had this in years and years! A must to put on my menu soon!

  2. I adore welsh rarebit and ate it regularly as an undergraduate at Mory's, an eating club at Yale where it was a house specialty. For a particularly delicious and heart-attack inducing variation, add a poached egg to it. Gilding the lilly, perhaps, but what a way to go!

  3. Martha, Reggie,
    I am delighted to have evoked such wonderful memories for the two of you with such a simple recipe. Why not an egg! the french add it to their croque monsieur to make a croque madame...makes sense after all!

  4. I just made this for some friends with two children, and it was perfect. Since I couldn't get Worcestershire sauce in Taiwan, I substituted soy paste, which worked well--no difference in flavor.

    Thanks for including this favorite of mine.

  5. Parnassus,

    I am so glad. it is one of mine too. I like it when I'm sick...kind of coats the tummy


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