Grilled cheese is one of my all time fave foods (up there with French fries and macaroni and cheese). It has to be really buttery, a little crispy and really cheesy (using any kind of cheese except "American cheese"). Good to know that the Welsh have their own version with just a touch of beer thrown in for good measure. (And open faced to cut down on your carb intake obvs!) It fits my requirements for a great grilled cheese but also incorporates a mac and cheese type bechamel. Two great tastes! And with Cinco de Mayo just around the corner and on the brain, it's not unlike a hoppy queso fundido...
The unusual recipe name (Welsh Rarebit or Welsh Rabbit) originates from 18th century Great Britain. According to WikiPedia:
"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. It might also be understood as a slur against the Welsh: if a Welshman went rabbit hunting, this would be his supper.
The term Welsh rarebit is evidently a later corruption of Welsh rabbit, being first recorded in 1785 by Francis Grose. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 'Welsh rarebit' is an "etymologizing alteration. There is no evidence of the independent use of rarebit."
Regardless, it's a super tasty treat, whatever it's called...
Adapted from The New York Times
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon mustard powder. or to taste
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup strong dark beer, like Guinness
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, or to taste
1 pound Cheddar, Double Gloucester or other English cheese (or other good semi-hard cheese, like Comté or Gruyère, or a mixture), grated
4 to 8 pieces lightly toasted bread
1. Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and, as it melts, stir in the flour. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard and cayenne, then whisk in the beer and Worcestershire sauce.
2. When the mixture is uniform, turn the heat to low and stir in half of the cheese, stirring until smooth, and then repeat with the remaining cheese. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into a broad container to set (you can refrigerate for up to a day at this point).
3. When ready to use, spread the mixture thickly on the toast and place under the broiler until it is bubbly and the edges of the toast are crisp. Serve immediately. Makes four to eight servings.