Cottage Pie with Garlic Butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, mashed

1 small onion, chopped

1 pound beef, freshly ground

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 1/2 cups beef stock

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Roux (recipe follows)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the topping:

3 pounds baking potatoes, unpeeled

1 cup whole milk, boiling

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon chopped chives (optional)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oil in saucepan. Add garlic and onion and fry until soft and slightly brown. Increase heat, add ground beef and thyme; fry until beef changes color. Add 1 cup beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil unpeeled potatoes, then peel them. Add boiling milk and mash potatoes while they are still hot. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper; add butter and chives, if using. Preheat the oven to 350.

Bring the rest of the stock (1/2 cup) to a boil and thicken it well with Roux. Stir it into beef — it should be thick but still juicy. Taste and correct seasoning. Put meat mixture into one large or six individual pie dishes. Pipe or spread mashed potato mixture over top. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes, until top is golden and slightly crispy. Serve with garlic butter and green salad.

Garlic Butter:

8 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

3 to 5 cloves crushed garlic

A few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Whip butter; add parsley, garlic and a few drops of lemon juice at a time. Roll into butter pats or form into roll and wrap in parchment paper, twisting each end. Refrigerate to harden.

Roux:

8 tablespoons butter

Scant cup all-purpose flour

Melt butter in pan and cook flour in it for 2 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. It will keep for two weeks in the refrigerator.

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