French Onion Welsh Rarebit


I love this gooey indulgence for a weekend supper, enjoyed along with the rest of the ale.

I like to use the ‘slightly salted’ butter from Darkin’s Welsh Produce, and I buy the sourdough from Jenkins.

Serves 4 as a light supper or 2 as a more substantial tea-time treat.

All the ingredients in fact, apart from the two pantry staples (ale and Worcestershire sauce), were bought from Llanelli Indoor Market.

For the Rarebit

250g strong Cheddar, grated

50g of butter

50g of plain flour

2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

2 heaped teaspoons of mustard

Large pinch of freshly ground black pepper

250 ml of good ale (not straight from the fridge – it should be room temperature (or even slightly warmed)

4 thick slices of sourdough fried in 2 tablespoons of hot, melted foaming butter

For the French Onion topping

50g of butter

500g of onions

Salt and pepper


For the onions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pan over a medium to high heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes until the onions are softened, stirring just once or twice.
  2. Reduce the heat and cook the onions uncovered for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until deep golden brown.
  3. If the onions look like they might begin to burn or if they look at all dry, stir in a tablespoon of water (or ale).

For the rarebit

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the flour to make a roux. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Stir in the ale, a little at a time, until you have a thick, smooth sauce.
  3. Add the grated cheese and stir until melted. You should now have a thick paste that moves around easily in the pan.
  4. Mix in the mustard and Worcestershire sauce and season well with black pepper.

To Serve

Now, here’s the dilemma: onions first or cheese first? You decide!

  1. Pile up the onions on the fried sourdough and pour the cheesy mixture over each slice (or vice versa).
  2. Pop under a hot grill for a few minutes, until browned and bubbling and delightful.
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