Two-cheese Welsh rarebit with smoked ham + piccalilli

Two-cheese Welsh rarebit with smoked ham + piccalilli

Chefs Eat Toasties Too
Brendan Homan

What’s better than this Welsh rarebit on a Sunday night? Fire on, glass of pinot, a movie and you are set. Sunday night used to be bath night when I was a kid. I reckon Mum and Dad were tucking into a slice or two of this while I was upstairs in the bath.


Quantity Ingredient
35g unsalted butter
35g plain flour
330ml beer
150g montgomery cheddar, grated
150g gruyère, grated
1 teaspoon english mustard
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon worchestershire sauce
1 egg yolk
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chives
8-12 slices smoked leg ham
8 slices wholemeal sandwich loaf
see method for ingredients, to serve


  1. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan over medium–low heat. (I like to use a cast-iron pan, but any pan will do.) Add the flour and cook, stirring with a heat-resistant spatula, for 3 minutes. Gradually add the beer, whisking the mixture to a smooth paste after every addition. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly with the spatula to stop the mixture from sticking to the pan.
  2. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cheeses and stir well to incorporate. Add the mustards, worcestershire sauce, egg yolk, salt and pepper and the chives. Whisk well until you have a smooth paste. Transfer the mixture to a plastic container, cover with plastic wrap touching the surface, to stop a skin forming, and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours.
  3. Preheat a grill to hot. Lightly toast the slices of bread on both sides. Spread a tablespoon of the rarebit mixture on one side of each piece of toast and top evenly with the ham. Then spread 2 tablespoons of the rarebit mixture onto the ham. Use a knife or small spatula to try to cover the ham entirely and spread the mixture as close as possible to the edges of the bread.
  4. Place the slices under the grill and cook the rarebit mixture to an even deep-brown colour, then remove from the grill. Serve immediately, cut in half diagonally, with a side of piccalilli (two pieces of rarebit per person).

Pro tip

  • I love all cheese but especially cheddar. I love all cheddars but especially Montgomery cheddar. Try and find it if you can, but you’ll have to look in special cheese shops or at the market. Any other cheddar will work though, so don’t panic.
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