Once you taste Welsh rarebit with stout you won’t want it any other way. If you’ve never had Welsh rarebit before, now is a good time to start.
This dish, which historically comes from Wales and originally named Welsh Rabbit, was what the coal miners ate when they couldn’t afford meat. I personally would have preferred this anyway as its utterly delicious and loaded with wonderful Cheddar. It’s essentially an open grilled cheese sandwich made from a béchamel leaning towards croque monsieur territory. I added a rasher of fried back bacon to a couple of these molten cheese slices and it took it to next level awesome. If you are not a vegetarian, I would highly recommend doing this too.
As for the bread you use, I have made Welsh Rarebit before with home-made Irish soda bread and it’s pretty perfect with that. My rendition has onion and rosemary making it a little more interesting. I also like a grainy bread and sourdough, but here I’ve used a buttermilk rye blend. I think 100% rye could be too intense for this rich topping, but having some rye in the mix definitely adds value. You want the bread to be a strong slice with robust texture. I like to butter and fry my bread on a griddle before. This adds amazing flavour and is worth the effort. Otherwise simply toast it under the grill first. I also set my oven to a high convection temperature with the grill (broiler) on as I found I wanted to bake it and grill it simultaneously. If you are putting the sauce on hot and grilling right away, you will be fine with just the grill. Set it about a quarter way down the oven, you don’t want this right under the grill as you run the risk of burning the top layer of the sauce without allowing it to melt all the way through.
I used Castle Milk Stout in this recipe. It’s South Africa’s most popular stout and it darkens the béchamel beautifully. It leaves a hint of bitterness too. It also pairs well as a drink to eat with the dish. The cheese (and bacon) adds enough salt so you won’t need to add more, and a few snipped chives over the top make a nice garnish.
As far as the cheese goes, I opted for a mature Cheddar with about 6 months age on it. You don’t want to use anything too strong. It should also be of the highest quality you can lay your hands on.
**PS add the cheese with the milk stage – sorry I couldn’t update the recipe card for some technical reason
- 25gm butter
- 25gms flour
- ½ cup Castle Milk Stout
- ¼ cup milk
- 1tsp Dijon or English mustard
- 1Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 125gm good quality mature Cheddar
- a touch of freshly ground white or black pepper
- Chives to garnish (optional)
- Back bacon rashers, lightly fried (optional)
- 4 – 6 slices of bread – depending on how big they are
- butter to tast the bread
- Heat a griddle pan to hot and butter the bread on both sides. Fry the slices on each side and fry your bacon lightly if you are using.
- Heat up your grill and set your oven rack about a quarter of the way down.
- Make your sauce by melting the butter in a small to medium sized heavy based pot and add the flour. Cook until you have a dry paste over a low heat. Add the stout in parts whisking all the time. Add the milk, mustard, Worsteshire sauce and whisk while cooking for a few minutes until you have a thick sauce.
- Place your toasted bread on an oven tray and top with a slice of bacon. Divide the sauce amongst the slices of bread ensuring you have a fairly generous layer and smooth it to over the surface.
- Place under the grill and cook until bubbling.
*proudly sponsored by SAB
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