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Welsh Rarebit

 In Breakfast, Dinner/Supper, Lunch, Vegetarian

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit probably has some very interesting story about where and why it originated but quite frankly, I don’t care about that. I’m just extremely thankful that someone thought it was a good idea to put oozy, gooey cheese sauce on hot, toasted bread, because they were right.

This has extra special meaning to me, because it was my mom’s version of comfort food. When I was sick, my mom would make me sweet, milky tea and toast smothered in butter and bovril. When I was sad, about boys or school or whatever the reason, she would make me Welsh Rarebit. There is just something about biting through salty, creamy sauce into a crispy piece of toast. I’m salivating just thinking about it. It’s almost like eating potato bake, you know it’s not good for your body, but man-oh-man, is it good for your soul!

Served with a mixed salad, this turns into a beautiful lunch or light supper which is just so perfect for the amazing Spring evenings we’ve been having. To make it a more substantial meal, you could add savoury mince, fried bacon or some grilled chicken ontop of the toast before topping it with the cheese sauce, but I chose to keep it simple. I just fried some leeks and garlic in butter and turned that into the cheese sauce.

Easy, delicious, comforting..what more could you ask for?

Serves 4

4 slices of good quality bread (I used the French bread from my local supermarket, you could also do 2 slices per person)
4tbsn butter
1tbsn oil
4 large leeks, washed andΒ  sliced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4tbsn flour
500-700ml milk
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp Dijon mustard
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup strong mature cheddar
salt & pepper to taste

  • In a saucepan, heat 2 tbsn butter with the oil and fry the leeks and garlic until soft. Add the rest of the butter and allow to melt.
  • Stir in the flour until a roux is formed and slowly whisk in the milk. I only add 500ml milk at the beginning to ensure that the sauce isn’t too thin. You want the sauce to be thick enough to not ooze off the toast completely.
  • Lower the heat and allow the sauce to cook gently until the ‘floury’ taste has disappeared. Add the seasonings and the cheddar and take off the heat. Stir until the cheese has melted and adjust the seasoning.
  • Heat the grill of the oven and toast the bread on both sides until nice and golden and crisp.
  • Top with a few spoonfuls of the sauce and place back under the grill. Allow to get nice and brown then serve immediately.
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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 10 comments
  • Jovana

    I made this last night. I made it for supper since I was seriously liss for something chessy. I made individual bacon cups and put in salad smothered in a Feta and Garlic Salad dressing (home made ^^).

    My family LURVED it. I only made 5 pieces because I wanted one… I made two for my dad and two for my brother. My other brother and mom have cut out bread. *g* My brother who cut out bread had a piece and a half (my other brother gratefully shared his piece *g*).

    Anyway. The end result was: ‘Jo, is that it?! Why didn’t you make more!’… I added a bit of feta to the cheese sauce because the cheddar I had used was very … flavourless. We used to buy all of our cheese in bulk from a farm but they’ve since closed their doors and I am left trying to find the right flavour cheddar… was delicious though!

    Definitely going to keep this in my repertoire πŸ˜€ Thanks so much. Gonna try out one of your other recipes soon!

    • Ally_R

      Jovana : The feta cheese sounds so yum! And I’m so happy your family enjoyed it so much.

      WRT cheddar, I find that both Spar and Woolworths’ Mature Cheddar is really great. It’s very strong so it’s perfect in cheese sauce. But next time you should try to add some pecorino or Parmesan, they’ll also add a lot of depth and cheesy flavour! πŸ™‚

  • Marisa

    Cheesy goodness! Gotta love it.

    My mom also used to make us toast with bovril & tea when sick – is that in the mom’s manual? πŸ™‚

  • nina

    Ally, this is one of my all time favorites. But then again, what is not to like about melted cheesy goodness!! Love the ooze factor of your photos!

  • Jovana

    This looks so delicious! Omg! =) My folks are coming back from Joburg tomorrow. Mayhaps I’ll have this waiting for them when they get back! Thanks!

    • Ally_R

      You should! It’s so freakin easy to make! πŸ™‚

  • Gaby

    so delicious ! am sure it took many a heartache away in the past !

    • Ally_R

      It sure did Gaby! πŸ™‚

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