Vegan Rarebit

Usually, buckwheat flour would not be my first choice to create body when making a sauce.  Except of course, if what I want to do is mimic the gooeyness of melted dairy cheese with the aim of making a memorable vegan rarebit.  And rather than relying on commercial cheese-style products with questionable ingredients, this recipe uses whole foods to do the job.  The sauce is also a great topping for vegetables or beans if you don’t feel like doing the whole “rarebit” thing.

Yield: 2 generous servings (or 4 servings if using this as a sauce only)

What you need:

  • 2 tablespoons white buckwheat groats (NOT kasha)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup beer (lager preferred, I used Molson Dry and it worked well – feel free to roll your eyes and use something more distinguished however)
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon herb salt (Herbamare is my go-to)
  • To serve:
    • 2 slices of sourdough bread
    • some kind of steamed green vegetable
    • toasted nuts for garnish

What you do:

  1. In a small spice or nut grinder (don’t use it for coffee or your sauce will taste like coffee and your coffee like smoked paprika…), grind the buckwheat groats, nutritional yeast, celery seed and smoked paprika to a fine powder.  Set aside.
  2. Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat.  When hot, add the oil and the minced shallot.  Turn down the heat as needed to avoid browning.  Cook, stirring now and again, until the shallot is translucent, 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground powdered grain, nooch and spices to the saucepan and stir well, until a nice ball of paste forms in the bottom.
  4. Whisk in the beer.  It will bubble and the alcohol will boil off.  Things will get thick in there very quickly.  Slowly whisk in the water, making sure that no clumps form.  If they do, whisk away until they’ve been taken care of.  Add the herb salt and whisk again.
  5. Bring the sauce to a boil, cover and lower the heat.  Cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes, at a very low simmer, until the sauce is thickened and there’s no graininess when you taste the sauce, only awesomesauce.  If desired, you can add more pepper, more paprika or more of something you think it needs, and cook it for another 5 minutes so that something extra blends in completely.
  6. To serve, toast the sourdough well.  Crunchy and dark is what you want since it will soften under the effects of the sauce.  Pile something green alongside the slice of toasted bread.  Smother everything in sauce.  Garnish with some chopped up super-crunchy toasted nuts.  Repeat on another plate for the second serving and then enjoy at least one of the two servings.  Maybe both…



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