Le Welsh

Okay, let’s face it, I’ll probably take the mickey out of some weird versions of French dishes you can find in the UK. But you know that it goes both ways…Therefore, I’ll dedicate my first recipe post to the strangest version I know of any British dish “transformed” by the French! I present to you THE Welsh Rarebit “Boulogne style”.

Warning: repeated consumption of the Boulonnais Welsh rarebit can lead to a slimming club application. 

Per person, you’ll need :

  • 250 grams of grated mild Cheddar (in Boulogne, they mainly use a brand called “Galloway” which is Scottish, and orange coloured, and they call it *Chester”…don’t ask me why.)
  • About 100 ml of beer (I personally use Leffe Belgian beer)
  • A teaspoon of English mustard or its powder equivalent.
  • A hint of Piment de Cayenne (actually a few chilli flakes will do the trick)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • A slice of toast 

That is for what is commonly called “Welsh simple”, which is the basic version. If you feel adventurous, there are many versions (no kidding!). In this case, you can also have a slice of ham on top of the toast (it’s called “Welsh jambon”), or a fried or poached egg on top of everything, that’s the “Welsh oeuf”. Then there’s my favourite with ham AND egg : that’s the “Welsh complet” (the full monty).

Preheat the grill to full whack. Take a standard saucepan and gently heat up the beer and incorporate the mustard and the chilli. As soon as the liquid starts to bubble up, add the Cheddar and let it melt gently tossing with a spatula or a wooden spoon and add a few drops of Worcestershire sauce. When the cheese has fully melted, take a bowl, lay the toast – and the ham if needed – and pour the mixture on top. Put under the grill for a minute or two, until gently brown. If you choose the “Oeuf” or “Complet” version, put the previously cooked egg on top. Et voila

Some people are totally unreasonable and have a portion of French frites aside to dip into the mixture….a few extra calories.

For the story – and just to show how important is the Welsh Rarebit to the locals – I have to report a conversation I overheard between two locals in a bistro, 

  • “Have you tried the new brasserie on the main square?”
  • “You call that a restaurant? They don’t even do Welsh!’

Enough said.

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