Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Rarebit--also known as Welsh rarebit--is a popular British dish. It generally consists of a mix of Cheddar cheese, ale, and seasonings like Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard and is served over toast. I recently encountered a recipe for turkey rarebit, a suggestion for an easy open-faced, post-Thanksgiving sandwich. With a lot of leftovers from an oven-stuffer I had roasted, I decided to give this comfort food a try. What follows is my version.

Serves 4
2 tbs unsalted butter, plus more for the baking sheet
8 slices sourdough bread, lightly toasted
2 tbs Dijon mustard
16 thin slices skinless roast chicken breast (or turkey)
3 medium scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbs all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup brown or dark amber ale
8 oz  aged English cheddar, finely grated
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Position a rack 4 to 5 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.

Lightly butter a large, rimmed baking sheet. Smear one side of each slice of bread with the mustard. Set the bread slices mustard side up on the baking sheet and top with the chicken slices.

Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the scallions. Cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Whisk in the flour and cook for one minute more, whisking frequently. Add the milk and bear and whisk until thick and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Add all but 1/4 cup of the cheese and 1/2 tsp pepper, and the Worcestershire and whisk until bubbling, just a few seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce over each sandwich. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Broil until bubbling and browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before serving.
This isn't something my mother made, but I do remember making it as a young bride (I'm sure a variation of it is in my first big Good Housekeeping cookbook). We ate it twice during the week, once with a big tossed salad and the other night with tomato soup. It was a big hit with both DSO and me, both of us liking it even better the second time around when the ale flavor was more pronounced. My biggest issue right now is I have more wonderful ways to serve Thanksgiving leftovers than I'll have leftovers. I may need to return to making a second bird.


  1. Anything with melted cheese is OK by me! I love the addition of the leftover chicken!

  2. Oh that does look good. I've never had it and now I wonder why.

  3. I used to eat this in a French bistro in NYC...but that was 100 years ago! Your post made me nostalgic and made my mouth water!

  4. This recipe sounds very good and i think it is delicious and it fits perfect with my taste. My opinion is that this isn`t a very hard recipe so i will try it very soon, thanks a lot for sharing.

  5. I like the way you serve it with chicken or turkey under the sauce to "beef" it up. It looks all cheesy, bubbly, and delicious....almost like a KY Hot Brown!

  6. What a good idea to add the turkey or chicken--such an easy meal. ;-)


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