by Charlotte van Praagh, 22nd September 2021
Welsh Rarebit is top of the pops, so try our delicious, comforting recipe
Crisp, crunchy toast, molten melted cheese and the kick of mustard and ale, the classic Celtic dish of Welsh rarebit is the epitome of the saying ’everything genius is simple’, as it’s been voted one of the top 5 best-loved regional delicacies in the UK in a recent poll.
The survey, by holiday lettings company Stay in Devon found 63 percent of us love Welsh rarebit. While the lunchtime favourite came in behind Cheddar cheese, Yorkshire pudding and Devon cream teas (surprise, surprise), at a lofty number four in the charts it nevertheless beat culinary heavyweights Eton mess, Cornish pasty (ouch!), Melton Mowbray pork pie and Bakewell tart.
Also called Welsh ‘rabbit’, the posh cheese on toast has humble origins, allegedly as a meatless 18th-century meal for peasants in Wales for whom cheese was a substitute for unaffordable meat.
These days it’s a gastropub menu mainstay that’s often paired with a pint. While there are many variations of this centuries-old dish, the combination of medium to mature hard cheese, a little ale or stout and hot mustard on toasted bread is a heavenly one that’s stood the test of time.
Read on for a recipe, and do experiment with different Welsh cheeses and ales to please your palate.
Rock Star Welsh rarebit
This version of the iconic dish features cave-aged vintage Cheddar that’s been matured in Snowdonian slate caverns:
Ingredients (serves four)
50g organic butter
3 dessertspoons plain flour
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
150g Snowdonia Cheese Company’s Rock Star
4 thick slices wholegrain toast
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat grill until medium hot.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and mix well to make a roux. Cook gently then whisk in the ale until the sauce is smooth.
3. Remove from heat and add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and seasoning.
4. Add the cheese, reserving 2 heaped tablespoons for topping, and beat until melted and sauce is bubbling.
5. Place the toast on a grill rack or baking sheet and spoon the cheese mixture over each slice, ensuring they’re evenly covered. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and place under a hot grill until golden and bubbling.
6. Serve with your favourite chutney and a glass of ale. Iechyd da!
Recipe and image courtesy of Snowdonia Cheese. www.snowdoniacheese.co.uk