Scottish Rarebit - Outlander on STARZ Episode 108
Soon, we'll be as lost as Claire. Just one more episode before we enter that black hole of Outlander nothingness until early 2015, when the last half of the season will appear to pull us out of our post-holiday doldrums.
Well, it's something to look forward too, right? Even if you are dreading this final hour before the break...
If I were lost, I wouldn't mind if Frank Randall wanted to find me.
While not a fan favourite in the books, Tobias Menzies has done an incredible job to make Frank sympathetic and lovable, and I think we'll see more of that this Saturday.
Episode 108 "Both Sides Now" promises to veer the farthest off the book path of the episodes so far, as we watch Frank grow more and more desperate to find Claire.
I picture a man alone, tireless in his search, stopping only to eat and sleep when exhaustion overtakes him. I know that's what My Englishman would do if I went missing, and he has more than a little bit of Frank in him...
One of the dishes Frank may have chosen to fuel his search is the cafe classic, rarebit.
Known most commonly as Welsh rarebit (a corruption of the original name rabbit - for which I could find no reliable information about its origin) - the dish is basically glorified cheese on toast. It's quick, easy and delicious, which makes it the perfect bachelor meal.
As you can see from this page from the Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, published in Edinburgh in 1774, Wales was not the only home of rarebit. It seems the Scots had their own version, as did the English.
The best way to do that is to start with Scottish ingredients. I couldn't find a Scottish-brewed beer, but I did find 2 local craft beers inspired by our favourite land. You probably won't find either of these where you live, but step into a specialty liquor store in your neighbourhood, and ask the clerk. You're looking for a strong, flavourful beer...a stout or porter, for example.
I also added a shot of whisky into my rarebit, which added a nice flavour.
If you're having guests over, buy a baguette and make a plate full of mini rarebits for everyone to enjoy. If it's just you, pile that cheese mixture on a piece of toasted bread (I used Jenny's Everyday Bread), and leave it under the broiler for an extra minute to give it an extra brown. My favourite part of rarebit is the crusty, crunchy cheese around the edges.
:A variation of the popular Welsh Rarebit - dressed up cheese on toast - fuel for single men everywhere, including those looking for their wives, vanished without a trace in the Scottish countryside.
- Butter - ¼ Cup
- All-Purpose Flour - ? Cup
- Strong Scottish Beer (Stout or Porter) - 1 Cup
- Whisky - 1 Tble (optional)
- Mustard Powder - 1 tsp (see notes)
- Aged Cheddar Cheese, grated - 8 oz (approx 2 Cups)
- Worcestershire Sauce - 1 Tble
- Salt & White Pepper
- Bread - 4 slices or 1 baguette, sliced
- Butter, for bread
Preheat your oven’s broiler or grill.
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in flour to form a paste and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in beer and optional whisky gradually, to form a thick, smooth sauce. Add mustard powder and grated cheese. Stir until melted. Mix in Worcestershire sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Toast and butter bread, then pile up cheesy mixture on each slice. Cook under broiler/grill for a few minutes, until browned and bubbling.
- No mustard powder? Subsitute 2 teaspoons prepared English mustard, or Dijon in a pinch, and add it at the same time as the beer.
- Scottish beer is best, but any strong, dark, flavourful beer will do.
- Scottish cheese is also best, but I couldn’t find any on my little island, so I used a 1 YO English Cheddar from Dorset.
- Don’t drink? I haven’t tried it, but I imagine beef stock to be a flavourful substitute for the beer. Omit the whisky.
- I prefer white pepper here, as it seasons without leaving black specks in an otherwise spotless cheese sauce. That said, use what you have on hand.