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National Welsh Rarebit Day: Say Cheese Please!

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Today is National Welsh Rarebit Day 2013. Labor Day has passed and the magical season of Fall is upon us. Forget the leaves, we got the World’s Series, Pro and College Football to deal with. At half time or between innings, men all across the country will be scrambling for something to eat. This usually means pizza, wings, chips and salsa, etc. Why not try something else for a change? How about a rich and creamy beer and cheese sauce atop toasted bread? Welsh Rarebit.

The Whip Tavern Philadelphia, PAThe name for this dish originated in 18th century Britain where it was called Welsh Rabbit. Rabbit was poor man’s meat in England, yet the Welsh peasants were even denied this. Instead they used what they had on hand: cheese, milk, ale and bread. There was really no true recipe for this dish for each family had their own. Some used ale, others used milk, some added mustard  and some did not. The Whip Tavern in Philadelphia uses English Cheddar and Stilton Cheeses mixed with Smithwick’s Irish Ale. Llewelyn’s Pub with six locations in St. Louis serves grilled Farmer’s Bread with a Guinness Cheddar Cheese Sauce, tomatoes, bacon and fried onions. Gary’s on Spring in Louisville, Kentucky serves an American version of Welsh Rarebit called a Hot Brown. This concoction consist of Turkey, Morney Sauce, Tomato, Bacon and Parmigiano Reggiano on Toast Points.

In the early part of the 20th Century, Welsh Rarebit was considered a bachelor’s dish. All a young man had to do was make his Cheese Sauce and keep it hot in a chafing dish until chow time or after a late night on the town. Here is my take on Welsh Rarebit.

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit Recipe
Ingredients
4 Tbsp Butter
4 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
2 Tsp Worcestershire
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tsp Freshly cracked Pepper
1 cup Porter or other strong Beer
1/2 cups Heavy Cream
2 cups Cheddar, extra sharp, shredded
1 Tsp Sriracha Sauce or other hot sauce (or to taste)
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley
4 English Muffins, split and well toasted

Procedure
In a medium sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper and whisk until smooth. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in beer and continue to simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add cream and combine. Bring up just to a boil then gradually add cheese while stirring until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. Add Sriracha and serve over toasted English Muffins. Garnish with Parsley. If not eaten right away, keep warm in a double boiler until ready to serve. Top each Rarebit with a fried egg and you have the Buck Rabbit. Another version calls for tomatoes or tomato soup to be added at the end and is called Blushing Bunny. Use your imagination, the possibilities seem endless.

CJ & TJ

CJ & TJ

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