Welsh Rabbit.

flag-mini-Wales I remember from my childhood the mysterious appearance of frozen Welsh Rarebit in our family’s freezer. I was so curious about this thing called “rarebit” apparently cheese melted on toast and yet I don’t remember my parents ever serving it. Who knows, maybe they were saving it all for themselves! There were 12 of us in total and food disappeared quickly. Perhaps it was a treat for them to savor together in the rare moment when no children were around.
Welsh Rabbit
Had they only known how easy and downright cheap Welsh rabbit can be, they might have served it up more often, especially on meatless Fridays that we sort of adopted as semi-practicing Catholics. (Those Fridays morphed into “Every Man for Himself” which meant “Mom Needs a Break from Cooking Oh For Heavens Sake You Won’t Starve Pour Yourself a Bowl of Cereal or Make Some Toast.”)
Welsh Rabbit 1
Most books, articles, blogs and cooking sites I consulted seem to agree that caws pobi Welsh for “toasted/roasted cheese” (any Welshfolk out there are welcome to correct me on that) originated as rabbit not rarebit, one possible explanation being that Welshmen were too poor to afford even lowly rabbit meat so they frequently relied on cheese for tummy-filling sustenance. And if you mixed a little beer or stout with that cheese, well you probably earned it.
Welsh Rabbit 2
I found no less than six recipes for rabbit/rarebit among my various cookbooks. Heck, even Better Homes & Gardens book has “Welsh Rarebit Breakfast” served a la Eggs Benedict atop english muffins and Canadian bacon and a “Beer Rarebit” variation served with bacon, in case the cheese and eggs didn’t help you meet the minimum daily requirement of fat and cholesterol.
Welsh Rabbit 3
Recipes vary little from one to the next: usually butter, mustard, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce, grated cheese and milk or beer. Some list eggs or yolks in the ingredients, but I took a pass on that. I just wanted cheese and beer! A few call for mixing the ingredients cold and spreading them on bread before toasting; most melt all ingredients in a saucepan first and then pour or spoon it over bread or toast. Enjoy the cheese covered bread/toast immediately or pop it under the broiler until brown and bubbly. Add a poached egg and it turns into Bucks Rabbit. A versatile dish, indeed!
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For me, really good quality and sturdy bread is a must for this one. Two of my top store-bought choices are Breadsmith’s Honey White and Rustic Italian. Thickly cut homemade bread would be heavenly! Multi-grain or wheaten bread would be excellent too. Is it okay to recommend Irish wheaten bread for a Welsh dish? 'Cuz McNamee's is tasty and would be outstanding with beer-spiked cheese on top.
Welsh Rabbit 6
Heat the beer or milk in a saucepan with the butter, stir in the grated cheese (I used aged Wisconsin cheddar; some W. rabbit lovers around the internets recommend Welsh caerphilly cheese) until it melts, add the remaining seasonings and you have a savory sauce that is equally good for dipping chunks of bread into as it is for pouring over toast. If you can keep from slurping down spoonfuls of it before completing the rabbit roasting, I salute you! I couldn't.
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I hesitate to point out how cheap and easy this dish is, but there you go it’s cheap and easy. And most of you probably have all these ingredients on hand right now. For the record, I used Guinness Stout in the sauce and served it up on the side as well. Irish beer with Welsh rabbit on Italian bread, with Gala apples and Kosher garlic pickles. I'm getting weak.
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How many servings the recipe below yields is debatable. I could eat it all afternoon, so four slices of toasted Welsh rabbit for me technically equals one serving. But in a reasonable world, 1-2 slices should suffice per person. And can you see the opportunity for experimentation here? Try different cheeses or beer, Dijon or other mustards to alter the taste. Make it mild or spicy, use white or grainy bread. There may be more than one way to skin a rabbit, but in my cookbook it's much more appetizing to think of the many ways to make, and eat, Welsh Rabbit. So off I go.

Iyechid da!
(Yeh-chid dah = Cheers! in Welsh)

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Welsh Rabbit (say rarebit if you must)

3 Tablespoons beer (I opted for Guinness Stout use something really flavorful)
1 teaspoon powdered yellow mustard
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (more or less, to taste)
1-1/2 to 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces)
Dash cayenne pepper (optional)
4 slices bread

Whisk mustard powder into the beer. Pour into a small heavy saucepan, add the butter and Worcestershire sauce, and cook gently over medium heat until butter has melted.

Add cheese to hot beer and stir until melted, taking care not to let the mixture boil. Once smooth, taste and adjust seasonings; add cayenne if desired. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Lightly toast bread on both sides. Spoon or pour cheese sauce over toast and broil in a toaster oven or under flame just until bubbling and golden brown. Serve immediately.