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Traditional Welsh Rarebit (Rabbit)
Recipe contributed by Mark Todd "The Cheese Dude"
There is considerable debate about the origins of the name of this fabulous cheese sauce. Some say it was derived from a compliment that the sauce was a "rare bit" of good food. The most reliable source, according to Anita May Pearl et. al. in the book "Completely Cheese" 1990 Jonathan David Publishers, Inc., was that the term "Welsh Rabbit" was originally used humorously to refer to a dish of melted cheese, often with beer or ale, and served on toast or crackers. Which ever is correct (if either) the sauce is excellent and can be used with a variety of accompaniments, from traditional toast points, over steamed broccoli or cauliflower, as a topping for grilled vege-kabobs or any way you can imagine. The following is a combination of several slightly different recipes.

Ingredients

* Butter 2 tbsp.
* Aged Cheddar, shredded 3 cups (8-10 oz.)
* Ale or beer 1/2 cup
* Egg yolks, beaten 2 each
* English Dry Mustard, ground 1 tsp.
* Cayenne pepper 1 tsp.
* Worcestershire sauce 1 tsp.


Start with all ingredients, except cheese, at room temperature. The ale can be flat, it makes little difference.

There are two schools of thought on how best to proceed from here. One method suggests heating the butter in a double boiler on medium to medium-low heat until melted. Add shredded cheese slowly to the butter stirring in one direction , until the cheese blends with the butter. Then add the Mustard, Cayenne and Worcestershire and continue to stir. Whisk the egg yolks and ale together and add in small amounts to the cheese mixture. If you think the sauce may too hot for the eggs, temper the egg mixture by adding small amounts of hot cheese sauce and stirring to bring the eggs up to temp slowly, avoiding scrambled eggs. Reduce heat and continue stirring until sauce thickens. DO NOT BOIL-EVER!

The other method combines all ingredients except cheese and bring up to simmer, then add cheese a little at a time and stir until the cheese melts and sauce thickens. Yields over two cups. Serves 4 as side dish, 6 to 8 as an appetizer.

Both methods work well and it is up to you which you try. The most important things to remember is to start with aged cheddar (at least one year), use double boiler style heating, do not overheat (causes the sauce to break) and start with ingredients at room temperature. You can adjust the flavor to your taste by modifying the amount of Cayenne and Worcestershire. Some methods call for flour to make a rue first. This way works fine as well, but adds a texture I would rather not have in my Rarebit. It is a matter of choice.