Welsh ‘rabbit’ or rarebit


  • 60ml ale (beer)
  • 30g butter
  • 125g cheddar or gruyere cheese, grated
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon English mustard (or French for a milder taste)
  • 4 slices of hot buttered toast, to serve


There is much debate as to which is the correct title; both are used in 19th-century cookbooks. For 'Irish rabbit' a chopped gherkin can be added to the melted cheese mixture.


Put the ale and butter in a saucepan over low heat. When the butter has melted, add the cheeses, cayenne pepper, mustard and a pinch of salt. Stir until the cheese melts and the mixture comes to a simmer, using a figure of eight motion to prevent the cheese from binding.
Meanwhile prepare the toast.
Remove from cheese mixture the heat and allow the mixture to settle for a few seconds before spooning it onto the toast.
Serve immediately – the cheese mixture will firm as it cools.
COOK'S TIP: the cheese mixture can be made in advance and refrigerated until required (up to three days). It will harden when cold, so spread onto the toasts and put under a hot grill until it melts, being careful not to scorch the edges of the toast.

This recipe appeared in the post When Dickens comes to dinner on January 07, 2019.

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