On Sunday Ellie and I joined Kohlton, Mark and Martine at the Long's Peaks Scottish Irish Highland Festival in Estes Park. Ellie and I had not been in about nine years. We had a great time, but it seems to all of us that the actual festival is smaller than it used to be. At the end all of the Pipe and Drum groups play together. There used to be so many groups that when together, the line snaked around the large vendor's tent. That was not the case this year. It was still wonderful. One group was the 1st BN Scot Guard from Scotland.
Welsh Rarebit with Guinness Balsamic Reduction Sauce
2 bottles Guinness Stout
1 1/2 TBL Balsamic Vinegar
2 TBL Butter
2 TBL Flour
1 TBL Mustard Powder
1/2 tea Cayenne
2 TBL Worcestershire Sauce
1 # Cheddar Cheese, Grated (about 2 cups, roughly)
1 loaf of good bread (We like ciabatta, or other country breads with a crispy crust and chewy bread inside. Regular white toast might be too weak for this meal.)
To make the reduction -
In a heavy sauce pan, place 1 bottle of stout and heat on medium and stir until the beer is reduced by at least half. (Make sure to use a pan with plenty of room. I started out in a smaller pan only to find that heating the stout causes it to foam significantly.) Once the reduction is done, stir in the balsamic vinegar. It takes the bitter edge off of the stout reduction. Do this to taste.
Preparing the Toast -
Preheat the broiler on high. Be sure the rack is close to the heating element. Slice the loaf into as many pieces as you like. Place them on a cookie tray and broil them until they are lightly browned. Be sure to keep on eye on them as they burn easily. Flip them over and toast the other side half as much.
Make the Cheese Sauce -
Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add in the flour and stir with a whisk over medium heat until it is lightly browned. Be sure to stir the entire time so that it does not burn. Add in mustard and cayenne, stirring until fragrant. Next, whisk in the bottle of stout and the Worcestershire sauce. Once this part of the sauce is combined, remove from the heat and let cool until it is about 158 degrees. (This temperature will melt the cheese without causing it to become grainy or change the smooth texture.) Fold in the cheese
and stir to melt. (At this point the cheese sauce can be refrigerated for up to a day or so.)
To Serve -
Place the toast on the the cooking sheet, pale side up. Spread the mixture on top of the bread and place under the broiler until bubbly. (The broiler part is optional.) Add a tiny bit of the Guiness Reduction sauce on top and serve. It is traditional to add a side of tomato slices. It is also lovely with tomato soup. We liked it with a Caesar Salad. [I actually have the Guinness Balsamic Reduction Sauce in a gravy boat and I let everyone add as much or as little as he/she likes.]