The ultimate in adaptable comfort food. Use any type of beef, whatever vegetables you have around and mashed potatoes to put together this delicious one-dish meal.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
If your meat is not leftover (already cooked, such as meatloaf), cook it and set aside. if using bacon, cook it, drain the fat off, and dry the bacon on a paper towel, crumbling it in the towel once it has cooled down.
Add the tablespoon of olive oil to the pan, heat it, then add the fresh vegetables. Cook them for 3-5 minutes, stirring semi-regularly until they are crisp but beginning to cook through.
Add the flour and stir frequently for 2 minutes, until the flour is incorporated and cooked. In a few minutes, the flour will thicken the broth and water, a variation on the method used in making gravy. But first it has to cook, so there is no raw flour taste in the pie.
Heat the broth and water (I microwaved it for 1 minute on high) and add it to the vegetables. Stir until the vegetables are well-coated in a thick, almost-gravy. Add the cooked meat, the bacon (if using), and the frozen vegetables. Cook the mixture a low-medium heat for a few minutes, stirring until everything is combined and the frozen vegetables start to cook. Add the Worcestershire sauce, herbs, salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the mixture into the baking dish. Top with mashed potatoes, leaving the potato roughly spooned in (or make ridges with a fork) so that edges will brown as the Shepherd’s Pie bakes. Dot with the ½ tablespoon of butter and sprinkle with cheese and paprika.
Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, until the top is browned and steam comes out when you insert a spoon down to the meat-and-vegetable mixture. If the filling is bubbling, but the top is not yet nicely browned, turn the heat up or use a low-broil setting for 1-2 minutes.
Let the pie cool for a few minutes before eating.
For the mashed potatoes, we like them made this way, but you can follow any recipe and use any type of potato.