Welsh Rarebit with Spinach

By • May 8, 2010 • 32 Comments



Author Notes: Ok, for those put off by the weird name, don't be afraid, it's basically just cheese on toast.
This is a very traditional British dish which we frequently ate when I was growing up - it's a really quick, easy and delicious snack to rustle up in no time.
I had never considered the meaning of the name before now. When I was small I thought it was called Welsh rabbit, and it turns out I wasn't far wrong - you can read about the history on wikipedia.
There are lots of different recipe variations of this, some add beer, others make a complicated béchamel-style sauce. My recipe here is exactly how my parents used to make it for me - very very simple: just some grated cheese, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper and a dash of milk to bind the whole thing together. We didn't often add vegetables in the mix, occasionally sliced tomatoes, which tended to make the whole thing too soggy - not great. I did some experimenting by adding cooked spinach and it worked perfectly - not at all soggy and the flavors go really well together.

Recipe note: I've been a stickler to tradition here, which is why I've been so specific with the ingredients: I used Colman's English mustard powder which is very strong and flavorful, but other mustards work equally well - especially a good dijon or hot whole-grain variety.
With the cheddar cheese I won't compromise - in my 4 years in America I have yet to find a cheddar that stands up to the British or Irish versions (if I were being a real stickler I'd insist on cheddar from the Cheddar region in England - but that would be pushing it I suppose). Most American versions are rubbery when they should be crumbly, and bland and weirdly sweet when they should be tangy and sharp (even the so called 'sharp' versions) - cooklynveg
cooklynveg

Food52 Review: This recipe makes us wonder why Welsh rarebit has never taken off on this side of the pond. With cooklynveg's version, there's no longer any excuse. With a wise addition of spinach (we used fresh), this cheesy, mustardy open-faced sandwich would make a satisfying afternoon snack, or even a plated breakfast with the addition of bangers and eggs. A British comfort food staple for everyone's in-between meal arsenal. - A&MA&M

Serves 4

  • 4 slices of good, sturdy bread (i used a very nice gluten free flax seed bread by glutino - any will do, but please, no wonderbread!)
  • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (I used Denhay English cheddar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Colman's mustard powder (or 1 teaspoon of a milder mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • a little ground black pepper
  • dash of milk (probably about a teaspoon)
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach or 1/2 cup frozen.
  1. If you're using fresh spinach, heat in a pan until wilted then leave to cool. When cooled, squeeze out the excess liquid and chop roughly. If using frozen, simply defrost and squeeze out excess liquid. Place the slices of bread under the grill (or broiler) until lightly browned on one side.
  2. Meanwhile mix together the cheese, mustard, worcestershire sauce, pepper and milk. Next, stir in the chopped spinach. Turn the slices of bread over and top with the cheese mixture, so it's evenly distributed over each slice. Place under the hot grill for 2 - 3 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!
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Tags: british, cheddar, comfort food, Easy, gluten-free, kid-friendly, spinach, Vegetarian

Comments (32) Questions (0)

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3 months ago BetsyTee

No beer? Thanks for the lead on the gluten free bread - there are some great gf beers out there now to give it a go on an authentic version. Will certainly try this one though!

Stringio

6 months ago Edward Warren

Sounds yummy, but this is NOT Welsh Rabbit/Rarebit.

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9 months ago Erin

I grew up eating this when I was a kid. Not quite the rushed recipe I remember (stirring a pot of goopy cheese, trying to keep it from becoming a lump, not as fun as one might expect), much more mellow. I did not have enough cheddar so I adjusted with what I had on hand (oka), upped the mustard/pepper/and worcester to compensate and it was still a lovely rainy evening meal. :)

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over 2 years ago mariedym

simple yet delicious!

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over 2 years ago EatUrVeg

I made this with frozen spinach and 1/2 cup was way too much. It was tasty and quite good but the spinach overtook the cheese. Next time I'd just double the cheese and have more to server later!

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over 3 years ago kikimama

this is really good! i quartered the recipe for lunch for one person and it worked out very well. it's important to keep the flavors in balance as you say, so it's worth bringing out the measuring spoons for the 1/8 tsp. would you mind if next time i put an egg on top?

Mcs

over 3 years ago mcs3000

wow! perfect meatless monday snack or anytime.

Sausage2

over 3 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

This was a post-Thanksgiving cooking extravaganza recovery meal (with good Vermont cheddar ;0) ). So easy and delicious!

Claire

over 3 years ago midnitechef

Even without having the proper cheese for your recipe, I still enjoyed it! http://midnitechef.wordpress...

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over 3 years ago aliyaleekong

Congrats! This looks delicious :)

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over 3 years ago LazizaBites

this looks great - esp for the cold days coming ahead!

Eggandcress2

over 3 years ago coconutlime

My grandpop used to tell a funny story about being a MP during the war. He was in England and went on a double date. The girls ordered Welsh Rarebit and he had no idea what it was and was worried it was expensive. He and his friend didn't have much money and they actually went to the bathroom to see it there was a window big enough to climb out of if they they couldn't afford to pay their bill. They were so relieved them the food came out and it was just a (cheap) cheese sandwich!

Hib_kitchen

over 3 years ago MyCommunalTable

Congrats! Now I am hungry!

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over 3 years ago Noeland

This looks much nicer than the stuff Dad used to make... You've improved the recipe!

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over 3 years ago jvsjr

with a poached egg, i think you've shown me what everyone gets for post thanksgiving brunch.
along with cold turkey, of course.

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over 3 years ago KelseyTheNaptimeChef

Congrats on the win, great recipe!!

Claire

over 3 years ago midnitechef

Congrats on the win :) I'll have to try this out, I'm a cheese fiend!

Christine-28_small(1)

over 3 years ago cheese1227

I'll make this for my British MIL when she comes for Thanksgiving, which, as you might imagine, is not one of her favorite holidays. Thanks for sharing.

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over 3 years ago cooklynveg

Thanks all - I'm thrilled to be a winner! I'll have to make this for dinner tonight to celebrate!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

YUM! Will be making this soon. Congrats on the Wildcard win!!