Mary Anne here. This recipe brings me back to my own childhood in the ’50′s and 60′s when counting calories was unheard of and comforting cheese sauces topped everything from bread to veggies! This antiquated treasure is the base for the king of all cold comfort foods – mac ‘n cheese – and I assure you it’s as sinfully easy to prepare as it is to indulge in.
When my children were all living under one roof, good old Stouffer’s frozen version of Rarebit regularly made it to the table. It was my hope that the ultra thick cheese sauce would disguise the broccoli I was force-feeding my picky brood, and the ham, well that was just my own desire for an open-faced ham and cheese sammie.
Gone are the days of the family table, but thanks to the arctic chill blasting us into February, I had an urge to create a Feast-worthy meal that Mariel could quickly reheat. In researching a multitude of recipes, I discovered that I had been missing a critical step in my earlier Stouffered preparations: running the prepared toasts under the broiler for a bubbling, golden slice of heaven. It just doesn’t get more comforting than a plate of warm bread heaped with melted cheese.
Makes 8 Open-Faced Sammies
¼ cup unsalted butter – stock
¼ cup all-purpose flour – stock
1 Teaspoon dry mustard – stock
¼ Teaspoon cayenne, or to taste – stock
½ Teaspoon paprika – stock
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce – stock
a couple of hits of Tabasco – stock
1 cup milk – stock
6 oz. beer or ale – $1.25
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated – $2.50
! lb. broccoli florets, trimmed and steamed until tender-crisp (3 minutes) –
½ lb. sliced Black Forest ham – $2.99
8 slices dark wheat bread, lightly toasted – stock
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Kitchen: $6.74
Total Per Slice: $0.84
1. Prepare the roux. In a medium size saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour, dry mustard, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, Tabasco, and Worcestershire. Whisking constantly, cook for about 2 minutes until bubbly and smooth.
2. Over a medium flame, gradually add the milk. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly until thick and smooth, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the beer and cook another minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the flame and gradually stir in the grated cheese until melted and fully incorporated.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Adjust the broiling rack first, about 5 inches away from the flame.)
5. Arrange slices of ham on the prepared toast. Divide the broccoli evenly and place on top of the ham slices. Spoon the cheddar sauce evenly over the top of each. Place under the broiler until the cheese begins to bubble and just begins to turn a bit golden. Serve hot.