Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Welsh Rabbit or Welsh Rarebit?

Many years ago, we lived in Newport News, VA.  Sundays found us taking the short drive to Williamsburg.  This was the era of Williamsburg before the big amusement park arrived.  It was a quiet town where one could leisurely step into the past and spend an afternoon up close and personal with history.  The only buildings one had to pay to visit were The Capitol and The Governor's Palace.

We'd arrive, park at the Visitor's Center and take the bus (free back then) to the restored area.  First we'd visit some of our favorite places or just wander through the gardens.  A few times we attended services at Bruton Parish Church.  We'd then find a comfortable spot under a shading tree, spread out our blanket and read the Washington Post or a novel.  Sometimes we'd take a short nap.

Then we'd head over to Chowning's Tavern for an early supper.  All the other restaurants required reservations.  One could just line up at Josiah's "place".  When the weather was good, we opted to eat in the garden.  Our favorite meal was Welsh Rabbit.  I, along with others, am unsure of where the name actually came from.  Some say it was a slur on the Welsh.  The truth is, there's no rabbit involved in this delicious tavern dish.  Some recipes call it Welsh Rarebit which seems much nicer.  It's a bit like fondue but with cheddar cheese.

Welsh Rabbit or Rarebit
(The Williamsburg Cookbook with a few changes by me)

1 tbsp butter
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup beer
dash of Tabasco (to taste)
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Melt butter over medium heat
Add cheese and beer and stir over medium to low heat until the cheese melts
Stir in the Tabasco, mustard and Worcestershire sauce

Serve over toast.

Serves 4

Leftovers can be brought to room temperature and spread on bread and placed under the broiler.