Friday, March 28, 2014

Quick Welsh Rarebit

Much like I love to learn traditional skills and wear clothes inspired by the 1950s and 60s, I love cooking vintage recipes.  One of the best ways of finding recipes that don't depend on processed food, are designed to be frugal, and use healthy ingredients is to take a trip through a vintage cookbook.

Today's recipe, Welsh Rarebit, is inspired by one found in the 1930s section of Fashionable Food: Seven Decades of Food Fads by Sylvia Lovegren.  However, I've altered it a good deal.

The original recipe is a basic cheese sauce built on a roux.  I've kept that part, but I've added some homemade stock to loosen the sauce up a bit.  I've also amped up the flavor profile.  Recipes from the 1920s and 1930s, especially, have a tendency to be a bit bland to modern tastes, especially to mine.  (You should see this vintage recipe I have for "Frank Sinatra's Mom's Spaghetti."  I highly doubt Mrs. Sinatra brought a recipe from the old country that had a quarter teaspoon each of pepper and oregano as its only spice!)

Anyway, thanks to the miracle of modern shredded cheese, this recipe comes together in about 10-15 minutes, making it perfect for a quick dinner between evening commitments or a late night snack.  Reliance on cheese, of course, means that you have a meal that doesn't use up the expensive grass-fed, pastured, and/or organic meat from the freezer, helping the budget.

Quick Welsh Rarebit
1 T. butter
1 T. flour
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup stock
1/2 pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. salt
Paprika for dusting

Melt butter in heavy sauce pan; stir in the flour and cook on low heat for about 2 minutes.  Add the half-and-half and cook another 3-5 minutes stirring constantly.  Add stock and stir until blended.  Add cheese, mustard, salt, and Worcestershire sauce, and stir until cheese is melted and flavors are blended.

Serve over thick toasted bread with a dusting of paprika.

Serves four.

The Analysis
Fast:  This recipe is going to become a regular for us since it cooks up so quickly.  It will be ideal in the summer, when a few garden veggies on the side will make a really pleasant and basic meal.

Cheap:  As I indicated, certainly cheaper than the meat entree it replaces, which makes this nice for the budget.

Good:  This recipe is really delicious, belying its humble roots.  As with many homemade items, I also like the fact that I could use my own homemade stock and could opt for organic or hormone free ingredients, like the dairy products and the flour.

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