Welsh Rarebit is a traditional dish of toasted bread topped with a cheese sauce tracing its roots back to 18th century Britain. Jump straight to recipe below
Time and time again, Jane and I prove to ourselves that despite our tastes for a wide variety of cuisines and the food cultures that inspire them, we find that our biggest inspirations generally strike while dining at the bar in a cocktail lounge or pub. There’s just that element of warmth and coziness being served alongside every meal that speaks to the very essence of what it means to be a comfort food. From the fried biscuits we enjoyed at Death & Company to the pork pie at Blind Butcher, they just stick with us, motivating us to rush home to see if we can make something similar for ourselves.
This past November was certainly a busy one to say the least and we were facing a pretty hectic schedule for the remainder of the year. We could see the holiday rush quickly approaching, and with plenty of work ahead of us, we learned we’d have to move homes yet again at the end of the month. Heavy sigh!
Somewhere in the middle of the month, we traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to visit family. It was a trip that was booked well in advance of our news about the move and we were afraid leading up to it that we would have to cancel. Luckily, we thought it through, and decided to use this little trip as the calm before the storm.
Growing up in Indianapolis, I can tell you that it wasn’t much of a destination for fine dining during that time. There were always a few restaurants of note, but until Milktooth came along, nothing on the national (or international) scale. During this recent visit, we learned a lot has changed. There were quite a few places to choose from and one in particular that has us excited for another trip very soon.
Black Market is a hidden treasure buried in the Mass Ave. area of downtown. So buried, as someone that hasn’t been in that area for a very long time, I had trouble finding it. Once we did, we were well rewarded with an incredible menu of inspired farm to table dishes and an amazing cocktail list with a strong (and vast) focus on rums and rum tastings. After reading up on the place, we learned that the chef had spent some time at St John in London, one of our personal favorite restaurants and a place we were lucky to visit back in 2014, so we knew we were in for a treat.
There were many highlights that evening but the one item that we kept talking about the rest of the trip was the Welsh Rarebit. Basically just a thick piece of bread, toasted and then covered with a sauce of cheese and ale, it reminds me a lot of a croque monsieur/madame minus the ham and egg. As the latter is one of my top breakfast and brunch dishes to order, we thought it would be great to have both meet in the middle, and it turned out to be a wonderful idea. The rich and tangy cheese sauce mixed with the earthy flavors of the country bread were the perfect bed for the Serrano ham and fried egg. Make no mistake, though, you’re only eating one serving. This meal is as filling as it is tasty!
of recipes, The Complete Nose to Tail
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium sized shallot, finely chopped
(about 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tsp english mustard powder
1 cup of dark brown ale, porter, or stout
1 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
1/2 lb mature (strong) english cheddar, grated
1/2 lb emmentaler, grated
4 slices of thick country style bread
In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter and then saute the shallots until translucent, approx 5 minutes.
Add flour and stir until it “smells biscuity” but don’t allow to brown.
Stir in the cayenne, mustard powder, sage, and mustard until evenly coated, continuing to stir for approx 2 minutes.
Slowly pour in beer and Worcestershire and bring to almost a boil before reducing heat to medium-low. Add the cheese in handfuls, allowing each bit to melt evenly until all has been added and the sauce becomes smooth. Don’t allow liquid to boil or cheese to separate. You will stir frequently during this process.
Spread sauce over the top of each slice of bread liberally and then place under a broiler until the sauce is bubbly with spots of brown. Remove from heat and serve. Or…
For breakfast, add some ham or bacon and serve with a fried or poached egg on top.