Buck rarebit with cider-braised leeks

Sometimes, like most people after a big day, I get home and feel like something totally delicious, but I just can't find the energy to make it. Often, a big bowl of gleaming baby peas or a ham, cheese and tomato toastie offer themselves as the solution, but I think I may have found a way to take that lazy toastie to a new height. (And no, unlike my last lazy dinner combatant, rarebits don't involve peas.)

Rarebits have their roots secured deep down into Welsh heritage. Telling you that the Welsh rarebit is simply an 'open toasted sanga' just does not do it justice. A rarebit is all about the sauce; a rich, creamy sauce spread over other toppings on a wonderfully crusty slice of bread which is toasted to achieve golden, bubbly goodness.

To really man things up, though, I opted for a buck rarebit. Here, the egg transforms a plain old Welsh rarebit into its somewhat cooler brother, Buck. The egg atop a buck rarebit neutralises the sweetness of the leeks and tones down the whack-in-the-face richness of that cheesy, ale sauce. Try it, I dare you… 

What you'll need:
Cider-braised leeks:
40g butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced
150ml apple cider
2 tbsp thyme, chopped

Cheese sauce:
50g butter
1/3 cup plain flour
200ml dark ale
250g strong cheddar
2 tbsp creme fraiche
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp Dijon mustard

8 thick slices sourdough
8 eggs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

What to do:
For the cider-braised leeks, heat a glug of oil with the butter in a frypan over medium heat. Add leeks, stirring occasionally until softened. Add cider, reduce heat to low and cook for around 20 minutes, stirring every now and then. The leeks should be super soft and transparent. Add thyme, season to taste and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.

To make the cheese sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted and bubbling, add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes or until a sandy colour. Gradually add beer, whisking continuously until smooth. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cheddar, creme fraiche, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Season and set aside.

Preheat the grill to high. Toast sourdough for 1-2 minutes on each side - the bread should be just crispy. Remove the bread from under the grill but leave it turned on. Divide the leeks evenly between the slices and spread them out. Top with cheese mixture, spreading it right out to the edges. Grill until golden and bubbly.

Heat a glug of oil in the frypan over medium heat. Fry the eggs in batches until just cooked. Place one egg atop each rarebit, sprinkle with thyme and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

NOTE: This recipe serves 8, but you can easily cut it in half for fewer serves.