A couple nights ago, while I was returning some milk bottles to Buttercrust, the bambino asked Jay if he’d ever eaten rabbit before. Jay told him he hadn’t had real rabbit, but that he’d eaten Welsh Rabbit before. Apparently I came back to the car right at that point, because Jay told me about their conversation immediately. I asked the bambino if he knew what Welsh Rabbit was–He said no, and I asked if he wanted to know. He said yes, and when I told him it was toast with a cheese sauce, his eyes got huge and he started licking his lips and getting very excited. I laughed and told him if he was willing to try it, I’d make it this weekend.
Since we usually have a pretty heavy lunch whenever we go to Jay’s parents’ on a Sunday and we were expected over there this weekend, I figured this would be a perfectly light supper to cap things off. A bit much in the way of cheese, given last night’s dinner, but that happens sometimes.
I started by making some bread:
I got the latest King Arthur Flour catalog in the mail on Friday, and there was a picture of something called European-Style Hearth Bread that I thought might be perfect. I didn’t quite realize what a time-consuming project it would be, and while my loaves don’t exactly look like those in the catalog or on the website, it was my first time working with a sponge (levain or poolish–Basically, a bread starter) in several years, so I’m happy with how they turned out.
I’d also gone looking for a decent Welsh Rabbit recipe, and happened upon Alton Brown’s, which, if you know me, you know how highly I think of him. So that’s what I decided to work with. It also meant me going in search of beer.
I know I’ve mentioned it on here before, but I’m not a beer drinker. For one, I’ve never really cared for the taste of it. For another, when I was about a year out of college, I discovered I am allergic to it. Something I should’ve figured out on my own, given that around my sophomore year, I finally stopped trying to drink the stuff because a single bottle or can always made me sick (as in, projectile-vomiting sick within about 20 minutes of drinking said bottle or can), and I would instead mix Kool-Aid and gin (and yes, the idea is from a Soul Coughing song). As long as I didn’t over-indulge on that, I was fine. No, long story short, I am allergic to hops, so no beer for me. Which means I know virtually nothing about it. I don’t know the difference between a porter, a stout, an ale (and I can just about hear my cousin’s wife chuckling to herself right about now, since she & my cousin had a beer blog at one point!).
And why mention this? Because just about all the Welsh Rabbit recipes I came across, including Alton Brown’s, list beer as an ingredient. At first I thought maybe we’d just beg a can of whatever cheap stuff my father-in-law had on-hand, but then I figured cooking with beer is probably akin to cooking with wine. If you won’t drink it, don’t cook with it. My only issue then was price. I wasn’t overly thrilled about buying a 6-pack of something that I needed 1/6 of for cooking, and wasn’t going to use the rest (Jay’s not much of a drinker either). In the end, I spent $7 on some lager, kept a bottle, and gave the rest to my brother-in-law.
And then I made the cheese sauce.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the roux. Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add beer and whisk to combine. Add in the cream and whisk until well-combined and smooth. Gradually add the cheese, whisking constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. Add in the paprika. Pour over toast and serve immediately.
I did kind of wish I’d cut more slices for toast, but the nice thing is, I have plenty of cheese sauce, and a whole other loaf of bread still to use up!
I think now, I’m going to relax with some cocoa and prepare myself to head back to the working world tomorrow! Have a great evening!
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly for 2 to 3 minutes, being careful not to brown the roux.
Whisk in the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper until smooth. Add beer and whisk to combine.
Add in the cream and whisk until well-combined and smooth. Gradually add the cheese, whisking constantly, until cheese melts and sauce is smooth. Add in the paprika.
Pour over toast and serve immediately.