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Ecuadorian style Shepard's Pie (Pastel de Carne)

Serves 4-6 Prep time 20 mins Cooking time 25 mins

Shepard's pie originated in Ireland & was created as a way to use up any leftovers Irish families had from the week. Traditionally, it's made of ground beef with peas, carrots & other seasonal veggies with a mashed potato crust. My Ecuadorian version - pastel de carne - swaps out the potato for yuca, which is the root of the cassava plant.

The mashed yuca is a lot creamier than potato, and makes the dish that much more rich & decadent. I don't think I'll make shepard's pie with potato ever again. What became an experiment, is now a highly requested dish at my house.


2lbs of Ground Beef

1 White Onion

1 Bell Pepper (any color)

1 Roma Tomato

3 cloves of Garlic

1 cup of frozen Peas & Carrots

2 lbs of peeled & frozen Yuca

Abuelita's Aliño

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil


Ground Beef Prep:

  1. First, make the refrito: Finely chop the onion, bell pepper, tomato and garlic cloves.

  2. Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a pan and add in the chopped onion. Cook for 2-3 mins or until they start to become soft and translucent. Next, add the bell pepper and cook for another few mins.

  3. Add the tomato and garlic last and let simmer for a few mins. Add in salt & pepper & mix thoroughly.

  4. Season the ground beef with Abuelita's Aliño & add into the pan. Sauté the ground beef for a few mins, until browned & set aside.

  5. In a separate pot, boil the frozen peas & carrots in salted water for 5 mins. Drain & add into the ground beef mixture. Add salt & pepper as needed.

Yuca Prep:

  1. In deep pot, boil the peeled & frozen yuca in salted water for about 15 mins.

  2. Drain the water & remove the core of the yuca.

  3. Add into a food processor with 2 tablespoons of butter and a generous portion of salt.

  4. Blend until smooth.

Pie Prep

  1. In a casserole dish or smaller individual ramekins, add in the ground beef, peas & carrots.

  2. Then, add in a generous portion of the mashed yuca right on top.

  3. Bake in the oven at 400F for 20 mins, then broil on high for 4-5 mins or until the yuca is browned.


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