Greatest Recipes Ever: Fergus Henderson’s Welsh rarebit

Delicious Welsh rarebit, perfect for lunch, a snack or supper.

‘Welsh rarebit would be my husband’s desert island food. He once became so obsessive about it that he spent months perfecting his recipe. The result was delicious, and I can happily say he makes a mean rarebit.

‘But I was lucky enough to do a couple of days’ work experience at St John Restaurant a few years ago, and I’m afraid its version is hard to beat. It’s such a comforting, simple supper dish to whip up, partnered with a green salad.

‘I also think this recipe nicely puts paid to the notion that many people still seem to have that St John is only concerned with cooking the extreme bits of animals. It does far more than that, creating the most fabulous British food from vegetable, fish and fowl. The restaurant opened in 1994 in a former smokehouse in Smithfield, London, and the dishes served there sent ripples around the world – Fergus opened the door and the food world surged through it’ – Thomasina Miers

Welsh rarebit recipe

Serves six (recipe extracted from Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail Eating, published by Bloomsbury in 2004)


  • A knob of butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 200ml Guinness
  • A very long splash of
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 450g mature strong Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 pieces of toast

Recommended videos for you


Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour, and let this cook together until it smells biscuity but is not browning. Add the mustard powder and cayenne pepper, stir in the Guinness and Worcestershire sauce, then gently melt in the cheese.

When it’s all of one consistency, remove from the heat, pour out into a shallow container and allow to set. Spread on toast 1cm thick and place under the grill. Eat when bubbling golden brown. This makes a splendid savoury at the end of your meal, washed down with a glass of Port, or a steadying snack.



Delicious recipes with swede

Roasted with thyme and percorino, or mashed and served with venison bangers: just two of our favourite swede recipes this

Comforting cauliflower recipes

Stirred into maple-roasted duck risotto, or blended into delicious Camargue red rice soup: just two of our favourite cauliflower recipes