Welsh Rabbit (Rarebit)

Dessert: Welsh Rarebit

Everyone says British food is bad, but nothing could be further from the truth. Every time I've been to Great Britain, I've had delicious food, even in the pubs. It's especially funny to me that Americans complain about British food. I think we Americans have the worst food on the planet. If I never go to another T.G.I. Fridays or Applebee's, it will be too soon.

British pub food may not be the haute cuisine of neighboring France, but I love it. Granted, today in the pubs, they're using modern industrial foods like soybean oil for frying fish and chips whereas it used to be lamb tallow, but traditionally a pub was a place you could always get a hot, nourishing meal. (And there is the growing “Real Ale” movement in the U.K. — a push for unpasteurized beers and ales.)

Welsh Rabbit, or Rarebit, as most people know it, is essentially a sort of open-faced grilled cheese sandwich. If you say “rabbit,” instead of rarebit, most people will correct you. Unless they are Welsh (like my step-father), or into etymology and know better.

The original term was Rabbit, and was essentially an ethnic slur against the Welsh. “Rarebit” was the euphemism that people started using instead of saying “rabbit”.

According to Wikipedia:

“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.”

Welsh Rabbit

Ingredients

Butter, unsalted, grass-fed (2 tablespoons) — where to buy grass-fed butter
Sprouted flour, or rice flour (2 tablespoons) — where to buy flour
Dijon mustard (1 teaspoon)
Cream, from grass-fed cows (3/4 cup)
Cheese, cheddar, from grass-fed cows (6 ounces or 1 1/2 cups) — where to buy cheese
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste — where to buy black pepper
Sourdough or sprouted bread, or gluten-free bread (4-8 slices)
Optional: Beer, porter or dark beer (1/2 cup)
Optional: Worcestershire sauce, organic (1 teaspoon)
Optional: Cayenne, tiny pinch, to taste
where to buy Cayenne

Equipment

[easyazon-link asin=”B00008CM69″ locale=”us”]Medium saucepan[/easyazon-link]
[easyazon-link asin=”B00004S9EM” locale=”us”]Food processorsor[/easyazon-link]

Directions

1. Optional: Set the oven to broil.
2. Toast the bread.
3. Grate the cheese or run through food processor.
4. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour.
5. Whisk constantly for a few minutes, being careful not to brown the flour.
6. Whisk in mustard, optional Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper, until smooth.
7. Add optional beer and whisk to combine.
8. Pour in cream and whisk until well combined and smooth.
9. Add cheese a little at a time, stirring constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth — about 5 minutes. Add optional cayenne to taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary.
10. Pour over toast.
11. Optional: Stick in the oven for a couple minutes, just until the cheese starts to bubble and begins to brown. You don't have to do this step but I think it really makes the dish.

Photo Credit: Welsh Rarebit by thefoodplace.co.uk on Flickr

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Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Cheeseslave.com. Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

13 thoughts on “Welsh Rabbit (Rarebit)

  1. I would agree with your comment about Applebees and TGI Fridays. You can also include Chili’s, and Olive Garden. They are all one in the same. I can’t wait to try this recipe. It reminds me of a similar dish that a French chef would make for us employees occasionally. We had our choice of anything on the menu most nights, which was a special perk, but these cheese sandwiches were a melt in your mouth delicious! Throw in a spring mixed salad and it’s a great meal!

  2. What a refreshing and lovely thing to say about my adopted country! As an American now married to an Englishman and resident here for the past 11 years, I do tire of the “Britain has horrible food” stereotype … when in fact it’s not so bad! Meat here especially can be superb, and most British beef is at least partially grass-fed (there isn’t sufficient land space for US-style feedlot production!).

    Alas, TGI Fridays is here too … and many people think it’s wonderful. Ah well.

  3. I was born in England some 49 years ago. I lived there for a few years before emigrating here to the US with my parents when I was 7. I tell you this because the timeline is important. British food used to be horrible compared to American food. Everything was either boiled to death or fried. When I first came over here in the 1970s American food wasn’t GMO yet and feedlots were just taking hold. They had just started adding sugar and salt to everything but nothing had been supersized yet. The food was better over here and cheaper. As a working class family we could eat better for less money.

    Jump to the present and I had the pleasure of going back for a visit about five years ago and was floored by the food. I was there on business and working in the countryside of Wiltshire the heart of pig country. While driving around the countryside I would see cows, pigs or sheep roaming the grassy hills. And in one case a chicken farm where each chicken had staked out its own square foot of turf on a country hillside. All you could see were chickens as far as the eye could roam. All the food is local. Most is organic. All of it is GMO. All of it is free range. The food was terrific. I was there for three weeks and ate eggs and bacon and sausages every day. I lost weight and felt better than I had done in years. I am now very tempted to move back there just for the food. I’m wondering what a fantastic diet people have over there. It isn’t a struggle to get real food like it is here.

  4. When my husband and I visit Wales (his ancestors hailed from there) I make it a point to order this delicious comfort food. I make it at home and now I’m in the mood for it again. Nom nom!!

  5. Hi Anne-Marie
    I beg to differ re the state of British pubs – yes some are still in the dark ages however some like my favourite, a pub called The British Larder are top notch.
    Check their website out – I do so often for their amazing recipes.
    www.britishlarder.co.uk/#axzz1XInL1lmy
    Love your site
    K

  6. AH yay! Respect for my nations food – which is getting better and there is huge real foods movement here! I can get raw milk at the farmers market at the end of my road EVERY Saturday and LOTS of gastropubs are getting into real food. Anyone in the UK has to check out the ANchor & Hope Pub near Waterloo, or the Havelock in Hammersmith – best roast beef and beef fat chipes in the WORLD. Im on a 2 week gluten fast but when thats over you can bet I am on this stuff!xx

  7. Wow, I was only in London once about 18 years ago and had Welsh Rabbit at a pub one day. I had forgotten about that meal years ago. The recipe looks so easy to do I think I will try it for a light meal this Sunday evening. I love grilled cheese and all kinds of cheese sauce. This combines the best of them both. Thanks, Deborah

  8. Oh, Antony will just LOVE this post!
    While you may be able to find some good food out and about in the UK, my English relatives are all quite fond of that margarine/butter hybrid stuff, white floury biscuits, corn syrupy drinks and jam, and low fat everything. I’m going to forward this to them. 🙂

  9. This is one my kids favorite lunches. 🙂 I haven’t made it in a long time since my homemade bread tends to fall apart too much.

  10. In our house we call this English Rabbit and it’s our daughter’s favourite food.

    I do agree with you – American (and Canadian too!) food has got to be the worst. I’ve never been to visit England but if I ever go, I hope I get to try ‘real’ English food!

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