When I was a kid, I recall going to the supermarket and coming across a range of plastic cheese that was designed to lay on a piece of toast and melt under a grill. There was at least three flavours of this insta-cheese toasties and one of them was Welsh Rarebit. Unsure of the implications of eating something from Wales (or sounded like rabbit), I selected the pizza flavoured cheese slices to be on the safe side. Hey, I was only nine or so.
Eventually I threw a pack of the Welsh rarebit flavoured slices into the shopping trolley but I recall being rather underwhelmed by it. I had no idea what it was supposed to taste like after all. Before I could decide if I liked it enough to buy another pack, the line was discontinued.
I never gave Welsh rarebit another thought until I visited England for the first time and noted that it featured fairly frequently in pub menus. I gave it a try for lunch once while knocking a few back at a Brighton pub and loved it. I still had no idea whatsoever what was in it, but this serving of the Welsh rarebit thingy was amazingly good. It was also on the high tea menu at Fortnum and Mason in London so hubby and I didn’t hesitate having it again there. Needless to say, their version of Welsh rarebit rocked.
It wasn’t until some time later back home that I finally worked out what actually comprised Welsh rarebit. Hubby had a hankering for it so I googled it up. Obviously, cheese is a main ingredient but what else goes in varies from recipe to recipe. Worcestershire sauce and stout are the most common inclusions, but the rest of the ingredients can be any combination of cayenne pepper, hot sauce, sour cream, double cream, English mustard, dijon mustard and who knows what else. You can also choose between grilling the mixture on slices of bread, or simply serving it poured hot over bread.
As with any recipe that has its origins in ye olde worlde, there seems to be no sacred rule to follow with Welsh rarebit so I chose to concoct my own based on a few other recipes (primarily Alton Brown’s). The first few times I made it, it was over the stove and it’s not hard to do that way. However, now that I have my beloved Thermomix, it’s even easier to cook up. I’m including the Thermomix recipe below.
Thermomix Welsh Rarebit
30g of unsalted butter
30g all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
pinch of sweet paprika
pinch of salt
pinch of ground black pepper
1/4 cup Guinness or similar stout
30g sour cream
80g of Red Leicester cheddar (or a cheddar that you like, ground up on Speed 7 for 10 seconds)
4 slices of toasted sour bread or whatever you prefer
To make: Place butter and flour in TMX bowl and cook on 90C, Speed 1 for 2 1/2 minutes, taking care to not to brown the flour. Add mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and paprika into mixture and blend on Speed 3 for 5 seconds. Add stout and sour cream, and blend on Speed 3 for another 5 seconds or until mixture is smooth. On 60C and Speed 1, gradually add cheese and stir for 4 to 5 minutes until all blended and smooth. You can either pour the mixture straight onto your toast and serve immediately, or place the toasted bread with mixture on top under a hot grill and leave until top of mixture is slightly browned.