03 March 2010

Welsh Rabbit

Some time ago I promised a Welsh Rabbit recipe, and here it is.

Maman says that my great-grandmother more commonly used Worcestershire sauce, rather than Tabasco, and why my grandmother labelled it 'Gloucester' instead of 'Welsh' I don't know. But so it is in the book, in my grandmother's handwriting:


Here is the recipe transcribed:

1/2 lb shredded sharp cheese
1 tbs butter
1/2 tsp mustard powder
dash Tabasco sauce
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt to taste
1/2 c flat beer (or milk)
2 toasted English muffins

Combine the first four ingredients in a heavy pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until cheese is melted. Beat a little of the hot mixture into the egg, return mixture to pan; add salt and beer. Cook until very hot. Spoon over 4 muffin halves. Serves 4.

This makes an entirely suitable amount of cheese for four people, but you may find your people would like a whole English muffin, or perhaps a nice slice of sourdough bread. My great-grandmother served Welsh rabbit with a salad of red grapefruit and sliced avocado on butter lettuce, with a vinaigrette dressing.

The method of melting the cheese with the butter really does work, though it seems like it won't. Have faith and keep stirring.

The purpose of the egg is to thicken the cheese/beer mixture without flour or a roux. Tempering the egg with the melted cheese is possible but I didn't have particularly good luck with it; I would suggest adding the beer (or milk) to the melted cheese and letting that settle down (have faith, keep stirring), and then tempering the egg. I did it the way called for in the recipe, and as you can probably see, the egg curdled:

"Gloucester Rabbit"

Curdled egg has no effect on the taste, but instead of a lovely velvety melted cheese, you get a sort of fluffy texture. Not bad, but not the intended effect.

I do recommend using the beer if you can. The important thing to remember about cooking with beer is, to paraphrase Elizabeth David, that the beer must be cooked. It needs to reduce and meld with the cheese to taste its best. Again: have faith, keep stirring.

Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...