Divine Turkey-Broccoli Sandwich With Cheese Sauce

Cheese has been around for centuries and so has melted cheese. In many countries, the recipe for melted cheese sauce is known as Welch Rarebit. According to Wikipedia, the sauce was created by humble people who couldn’t afford rabbit or other kinds of meat.

The recipe probably started out as melted cheese thinned with a bit of milk or cream. As the decades passed, other ingredients were added — beer, ale, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tomatoes, onions, oysters, and meat. Home cooks passed the recipe on to their children. “The Boston Cooking School Cook Book” by Fannie Merritt Farmer and first published in 1896, contains several recipes for Welsh Rarebit.

The first one calls for butter, cornstarch, thin cream (half and half), salt, mustard, a “few grains of cayenne,” and a soft, mild cheese cut into pieces. “Much of the success of a rarebit depends on the quality of the cheese,” notes Farmer.

The second recipe calls for ale or lager beer and is thickened with a beaten egg. Tomato Rarebit is the third recipe and it includes stewed tomatoes that have been drained. All of the Welsh Rarebit recipes are served on toast or crackers.

“The Victory Cook Book: Wartime Edition,” edited by Ruth Berolzheimer and published in 1943, also contains a Welsh Rarebit recipe. Instead of milk or cream, ginger ale is used for the liquid. This may have been due to the shortage of milk and cream during World War II.

Welsh Rarebit (cheese sauce) has survived for centuries because it is homey, comforting and tastes good. But as I discovered, you have to be careful with sharp Cheddar, because it can curdle if you melt it too quickly. To be on the safe side, I use mild Cheddar and add dry mustard to enhance its flavor. Thanks to deli meat, pre-shredded cheese, and frozen broccoli, this recipe can be made in minutes. You may substitute frozen asparagus spears for the broccoli. Now enjoy your Divine Turkey-Broccoli Sandwich with Cheese Sauce.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons gravy flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cups fat free half and half

2 cups pre-shredded mild Cheddar cheese

8 slices lightly toasted bread

1 pound deli turkey, thinly sliced (or more)

1 box frozen broccoli spears, defrosted

Extra pre-shredded mild Cheddar cheese

Method

Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, seasonings, and cook for one minute. Add half and half, whisking constantly, and cook until sauce starts to thicken. Lower the heat and add the cheese. Cook for about five minutes, or until the cheese has completely melted. Cover and set aside. Lay toast in a shallow casserole. Mound several slices of turkey on each slice of bread. Place a broccoli spear on top of the turkey. (You may have to cut spears into thinner strips.) Spoon cheese sauce over sandwiches and garnish with extra Cheddar. Broil until the cheese is lightly browned. Makes 4 servings.

Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson

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