Dating from the 18th century this famous Welsh dish is a kind of ‘posh cheese on toast’. A simple marriage of cheese, flour, and milk with flavourful mustard and Worcestershire sauce is the go-to dish for those with bare cupboards who are in need of a comforting and filling snack.
Named 'Welsh Rarebit', it is thought this dish was attributed to the Welsh because of their historic fondness for cheese, which was used as a substitute for meat as a source of protein by poor peasants. It's been said that this recipe was later evolved by the Irish with of course the addition of Stout, making this particular recipe 'Irish Rarebit'. They would pour the cheese mixture on top of soda bread, which was popular in Ireland in years gone by, particularly in rural areas where a regular supply of barm (brewer’s yeast) wasn’t always accessible to the home baker.
For this recipe, we've chosen to use an excellent South West stout brewed by
. Based in Bristol, Moor Beer kicked off the unfined beer movement in the UK, firmly believing that adding isinglass finings (fish guts) to beer has a negative impact on quality. Leaving live yeast and other flavour compounds in beer enhance aroma, flavour, appearance and mouthfeel. With two taprooms, one in Bristol and one in London on the famous Bermondsey Beer Mile, you can go and sample their beer fresh from the brewery. If you pay them a visit, keep an eye out for our Irish rarebit recipe and/or cheese on the menu!
- 25g butter
- 25g flour
- ½ cup Moor Beer Stout
- ¼ cup milk
- 1tsp Dijon or English mustard
- 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 125g Quicke's Mature Cheddar
- Freshly ground white or black pepper
- 4 – 6 slices of bread
- A touch more butter to spread on the bread
Heat a griddle pan on a low heat. Butter the bread on both sides and then fry on each side until slightly brown
Heat up the grill and set your oven rack about a quarter of the way down
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low heat and cook until you have a dry paste
Add the stout gradually, continually whisking
Next add the milk, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and whisk for a further few minutes until you have a beautiful thick sauce
Add 3/4 of the grated Quicke's Mature Cheddar and stir until melted
- Place the toasted bread on an oven tray and divide the sauce amongst the slices of bread ensuring you have a fairly generous layer and smooth it to over the surface
- Evenly scatter the remainder of the cheese over the slices and place under the grill until bubbling
A glass of Moor Beer's classic Stout