On Rabbits

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Last night I was tired and didn’t feel like cooking a feast for one. I decided to have high tea instead of supper. High tea is *not* the fancy meal with the dainty sandwiches and little cakes. That’s “afternoon tea” or (although nobody calls it so) “low tea”, because it’s taken at a low tea table. High tea is in the early evening, usually taken by those too tired and hungry to wait for the late hour of dinner. It’s high, like “It’s high time we had something to eat”. Also, because it’s eaten at a high dining table.

High tea dishes are often hearty, but I tend to think of it as quick comfort food, often on toast.

I made English rabbit. You’re probably familiar with Welsh rabbit. Some call it “rarebit”, but I’m in the “rabbit” camp. It’s the older term, and I’m all about the history. Besides, I think it’s charming and matches up nicely with Scotch Woodcock.*

Welsh rabbit (or rarebit) is toast topped with cheese sauce and then broiled. Sort of like cheese fondue without the dipping part. I don’t care for it because the sauce is made with beer, which is not to my tastes.

English rabbit is made with wine, thusly:

Take 2 slices of bread and toast them very lightly. If they’re slightly stale, you can skip this. Put the bread on a baking tray and pour a little red wine over each slice. Just enough that it softens the bread, but not enough that it gets soggy. Dot the bread with a little butter and toast it again.

In a saucepan, melt together some cheese, a little butter, a spoonful or two of sharp mustard, and some more wine. The proper cheese for this is a sharp cheddar, but we didn’t have much, so I used mostly mozzarella with a little cheddar for flavor. The sauce should be thick.

Pour the sauce over the wine-toast and stick it all under the broiler until the cheese browns & bubbles. Eat with a mug of tea. And a big white cat purring by your side.**

* Another high tea sort of dish — toast, spread with anchovy paste and topped with soft scrambled eggs. It’s something I would never eat, but I can appreciate the whimsy of the name.
** Optional, but optimal.

Published in: on 12 March 2013 at 9:46 am  Leave a Comment  
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