Welsh Rarebit Macaroni & Cheese

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Have you ever heard of Welsh Rarebit? If you had to take a double-take at that recipe name, well, that’s kind of the point!

Cheddar & Ale Macaroni & Cheese - inspired by a classic Welsh Rarebit recipe, this indulgent macaroni & cheese recipe is indulgent and delicious, with a creamy, rich cheese sauce and juicy bites of tomato @visitwales #WelshRarebitDay

Welsh Rarebit is a decadent cheese sauce on toast recipe that doesn’t contain any rabbit – the name is shrouded in mystery but a popular theory is that in lean times when there was no rabbit to be had (or the rabbits were all sold to bring in money for other essentials) a simple cheese on toast had to substitute for the preferred meal of rabbit. So, when rabbit was rare – they had rarebit!

Welsh Rarebit is yet another example of how ingenuity and delicious culinary inventions are often developed out of hard times. This is truly one of the most delicious appetizers or late night snacks that any cheese lover could ask for.

Now I love this recipe as described here on the Visit Wales website, with slices of tomatoes and a bit of basil, but as a late night treat Ella and I went for the unadulterated cheese-on-toast. This recipe also makes for a delicious cheese fondue and served as the base for our cheese & ale macaroni & cheese (recipe below).

I also tried this recipe with and without ale, and Ella definitely preferred the ale-free version. Just make sure that you account for the missing ale by increasing the cream a bit. The ale lends some bitter notes and complexity, but the recipe is still delicious without it.

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How to Make Welsh Rarebit

First, gather your ingredients:

  • French loaf
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup dark ale, optional
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dijon or English-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound sharp Cheddar, grated

Preheat your oven to 325F.

Slice your French loaf into 1″ slices and butter one side. Place slices on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle the Parmesan evenly amongst all pieces.

Bake the French loaf slices for 10-12 minutes until golden and crisp while you prepare the cheese sauce.

Place the heavy cream and ale in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard, Worchestershire sauce, pepper and cheese. Stir occasionally until the cheese is melted and then reduce heat to low to simmer and thicken.

When the toast is ready, place directly on your serving plates and spoon the cheese sauce over the slices. Garnish as desired and eat hot!

This recipe makes a generous 2-3 cups of the cheese sauce so you can experiment and enjoy it many different ways.

How to Make Cheese & Ale Macaroni & Cheese

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup dark ale, optional
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dijon or English-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, torn
  • 6 cups cooked macaroni

Preheat your oven to 350F.

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Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Place the heavy cream and ale in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard, Worchestershire sauce, pepper and 3/4 of the cheese. Stir occasionally until the cheese is melted and then reduce heat to low to simmer and thicken.

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Add the macaroni, chopped tomatoes, and basil to the cheese & ale sauce and stir to coat. Pour into a baking container and sprinkle remaining cheese overtop.

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Bake until the cheese is melted completely and serve immediately.

Macaroni and cheese made with beer - a delicious homemade ale cheese sauce

Welsh Rarebit Recipe & Contest

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup dark ale, optional
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dijon or English-style mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 pound sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil, torn
  • 6 cups cooked macaroni

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Place the heavy cream and ale in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard, Worchestershire sauce, pepper and 3/4 of the cheese. Stir occasionally until the cheese is melted and then reduce heat to low to simmer and thicken.
  4. Add the macaroni, chopped tomatoes, and basil to the cheese & ale sauce and stir to coat. Pour into a baking container and sprinkle remaining cheese overtop.
  5. Bake until the cheese is melted completely and serve immediately.

Pin this Recipe for Later

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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Be sure to check out some of my other favorite cheese-y recipes, such as our Lentil Macaroni & Cheese, Homemade Cheese Crackers, and our Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich Casserole Recipe.

This post was sponsored by Visit Wales.

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9 Comments

  1. This is the first time that I’ve heard of this kind of macaroni recipe… and wow, it looks amazing! I bet it tastes really good too! I will definitely be taking note of this 🙂

  2. Ok, I admit I had heard of Welsh Rarebit but I always thought it was a dish that involves rabbit! The idea of adding dark ale to mac and cheese is something I have never heard of before but you make this look so good I am dying to try it. It would be fun to introduce my husband to a new version of mac and cheese.

  3. I had never heard of Welsh Rarebit before. Thanks for the lesson. This looks like a cool way to make my kiddo’s favorite dish, mac and cheese, with a twist! Looking really good!

  4. Welsh Rabbit sounds like an interesting dish! I have to say with Rabbit in the name, I probably would have strayed away from it, for fear that it actually included rabbit in it. But a twist on macaroni and cheese sounds much better!

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