No, the Welsh Rabbit has nothing to do with rabbits.
You see? No rabbits. Welsh Rabbit, or Welsh Rarebit (which was a term coined later on to avoid confusion with rabbits), is basically hot savory melted cheese served over bread. It is an old British tavern food that has been around since the 18th century. I tried to stay true to the original version as much as possible. Mine is made with Guinness and aged cheddar cheese.
I got carried away researching the history of the Welsh Rabbit and the origin of its name. Why the funny name? Oh some say that rabbit is a poor Englishman’s meat and cheese is a poor Welshman’s meat. And there are some who say that Welsh peasants were not allowed to eat rabbits on the estates of nobility, so they use cheese as a substitute. Here is my favorite one of all – there goes the saying “if a Welshman went rabbit hunting, cheese would be his supper.” I don’t know how believable any of these are, but a Welshman knows his food.
Seriously, sinfully delicious. Trust me, it is worth it.
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup of good dark beer (I used Guinness)
- 1/2 lb of cheddar cheese, shredded (preferably aged, I used 4-year aged Wisconsin cheddar cheese)
- A few slices of wheat bread (or any kind of bread you prefer)
- Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add flour, salt, pepper, dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
- Continue cooking and stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly, about 5 minutes.
- Slowly add milk and continue stirring until mixture comes to a boil.
- Pour in beer and cook for another minute.
- Stir in cheese and mix until melted and well incorporated.
- Remove from heat and ladle cheese sauce over wheat bread. Enjoy immediately.