WELSH RAREBIT

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WELSH RAREBIT

By Russell Smith

As a result of craft beer mania, beer and food pairings have become increasingly popular everywhere. The humble ‘beer & burger’ no longer cuts the mustard in this dog eat hop world. From fine dining to pub-grub, we’re seeing a rise in recommended beer serves, along with chefs creating interesting new ways to incorporate beer in food.

It is no secret that Innis & Gunn pairs well with food; in fact we’ve been enjoying this happy coincidence for over ten years now. I find Innis & Gunn very accessible for cooking and such a varied portfolio means there is always something to pair dishes with.

Each of the beers in our range have their own unique characteristics which make them more suited to some dishes than others.  For example, I like the light, hoppy notes of Toasted Oak IPA to offset naturally rich and sweet lobsters or scallops.  However, when it comes to pudding I prefer to use the depth and sweetness of Bourbon Stout or Canadian Cherrywood; using the caramel and vanilla notes to complement rich and sweet flavours in my desserts.

On the 28th of October, I will be hosting an exclusive dining event at No.6, discussing my recipes and showing you how simple it is to incorporate our beers in to home cooking. Tickets and more information can be found on our events calendar but here’s a little something to whet your palette in the meantime.


Innis & Gunn Rarebit

This recipe is one of our favourites, because as well as actually containing a healthy slug of I&G, it’s delicious when eaten alongside our brews. We love the sharp, fruity tang of Isle of Mull cheddar, which pairs especially well with Innis & Gunn Original. However, feel free to get creative, most strong cheeses work and all of the beers will give different delicious finishes.
Although the title suggests that this dish hails from Wales, the story goes that it was in fact named ‘Welsh’ by English cooks, as a way of describing it as unusual. Geography aside, I love this dish – a brilliant topper for spreading on toast or oatcakes.  At Innis & Gunn HQ, I make canapés by filling small tart cases with beer-braised beef cheek, topping them with the rarebit then grilling.  This works equally well with smoked fish.  Think strong flavours and you’re on the right track.

I also realised recently that it makes a great alternative to a cheese course. Toast some slices of good quality bread, spread with the rarebit and toast or bake for 3-4 minutes until golden and bubbling. Certainly much more interesting than a slab of cheddar.

Ingredients

50g butter
50g plain flour
200ml of your favourite Innis & Gunn
1 egg
1 additional egg yolk
275g of grated Isle of Mull cheddar cheese (or similar)
20g of Worcester sauce.
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

• In a heavy saucepan heat the butter until sizzling.  Keep cooking until the butter turns brown, or “noissette” and has a nutty caramelised flavour and smell.
• Tip in the flour and whisk well to form a roux.
• Briefly remove from the heat, and slowly whisk in the beer to form a smooth mixture.
• Return to a low heat and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until you have a thick and smooth paste, which should no longer taste floury.
• Remove from the heat, and add the cheese, and beat to combine.  A few lumps of cheese are no bad thing at this stage.
• Add the Worcester sauce, mustard, and eggs and beat thoroughly.

Although the recipe is now ready it is easier to use once cooled.  Simply spread on toast, use to top baked mushrooms or finish steaks.

Chef’s Top Tip: for a serious rarebit, make the following substitutions - cheddar cheese for strong blue; Dijon mustard for hot English; and use the strongest beer you can find. Not for the faint-hearted.

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