A Rabbit that is Not Welsh
I love a whimsical name that gives no hint of what an item actually is. The recipe titled, “A Rabbit that is Not Welsh” can be found in The National Cookery Book (published in 1876 by the Women’s Centennial Executive Committee) on page 120 under “Little Dishes.” Since I made James Parkinsons’ “Welsh Rabbit” for the fall issue of Occasional Miscellany, I was intrigued to find out what made this “rabbit” not Welsh. Besides the fact that no rabbits of the fluffy variety would be harmed.
I wonder if the “little” in “Little Dishes” refers to the length of the recipe. The entire thing is three sentences long:
One teacupful of grated cheese, one teacupful of cracker dust, two eggs, beaten until quite light, one teacupful of boiled milk and one wineglassful of wine. Season with mustard, cayenne pepper, salt, and one tablespoonful of butter. Stir all smoothly together and bake it immediately.
I’m not sure what kind of dish this actually is, maybe some sort of cheese souffle? I’ve never actually eaten cheese souffle, so I’m only guessing.
Here are the ingredients listed separately for convenience:
One teacupful of grated cheese
one teacupful of cracker dust
one teacupful milk
one wineglassful of wine
I briefly considered using packaged breadcrumbs as the “cracker dust,” but wasn’t sure if the change would affect the recipe, so I smashed up some crackers.
It was very satisfying.
Next I need to boil a “teacupful” or around ⅔ cup of milk and beat two eggs until “quite light.”
Rather than in mixing ingredients in the order the recipe states, I’m starting with the eggs and milk:
I pour the milk while whisking the eggs so I don’t curdle them. At this point I try to add the butter, but the milk and eggs aren’t warm enough to dissolve the butter. I scoop the pat of butter out of the mixture and melt it on the stove, then successfully mix the melted butter into the eggs and milk.
I stir in the cracker crumbs,
Which quickly dissolve into the liquid.
Wine, cheese, and seasonings are next.
I added about half a teaspoon of cayenne and a teaspoon of mustard powder. However the flavor of the wine dominates the dish, so I add more salt than I originally intended to hopefully bring out the cheese flavor. (The Library Company does not endorse the consumption of raw eggs.)
I smooth the mixture as best as I can (I forgot to take a picture at this stage) and pop it in the oven preheated to “bake immediately” at 350, usually a safe temperature. After between 40 and 45 minutes the mixture looks solidified.
I was kind of hoping for a souffle, but this “rabbit” did not reach the required height. I give it a few minutes to cool and taste it.
Now that the alcohol has cooked off I realize that I added too much salt, but that’s my fault, not the recipe’s. Besides that, this tastes pretty good. It has a similar texture to quiche, but the flavor reminds me of cheese fondue. To counteract the saltiness I eat it with some whole grain mustard and a little salad. When you try this at home, be cautious with the salt!