cuban shepherd’s pie/ tambor de picadillo

Published April 24, 2010 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

my first meal in my new kitchen!

oh, by the way, i have to tell you… if you do not have at least one nice all-purpose knife (i use a wustof classic santoku, and i use it for everything. ) you really need to get one! chopping onions and peppers with the chef knife from my $15 chefmate block set was awful. i can see why people hate to cook.  even if you cook occasionally, it’s worth it; a sharp knife makes chopping a pleasure.

so this is a little different from regular shepherd’s pie in that it has picadillo (beef hash) sandwiched between 2 layers of mashed potatoes, instead of topped with just one. this is my vegan version of Tambor de Picadillo. literally it means, drum of beef hash, which makes sense when you think about it, because it’s supposed to be made in a round casserole. however, i could not find a round 3 qt casserole at Target yesterday, so mine bears little resemblance to said instrument, and is made in a familiar 9×13 dish instead. besides making it vegan, i made some other adjustments for flavor and personal taste, but this is still a pretty authentic recipe, well,  authentic minus the meat, eggs and dairy. i may make a few more changes in the future when i have full access to my pantry staples. here is the recipe as of last night : )

you will need:

large skillet
large pot
9×13 pan or 3 qt. round casserole

Ty’s cuban shepherd’s pie/ tambor de picadillo


3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (traditionally they use green, i like red, any color will do)
3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bag of vegan crumbles or other substitute for 1 lb ground beef
1/4 c. cooking sherry
1 14.5 oz can tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vegan worcestershire
hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste, optional

1/3 c. pimento stuffed green olives, halved
1/4 c. raisins

Mashed Potatoes:

3 lbs potatoes, scrubbed and quartered (i used yukon gold because of their excellent reputation for mashing)
3 tbsp. vegan butter, plus more for greasing casserole
1 c. soy milk or soy creamer (add more a couple of tbsp. at a time if needed)
salt & pepper to taste

1/4 c. vegan parmesan
1/4 c. nutritional yeast


1. Pre-heat oven to 350*. Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold, salted water. Bring up to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. When you are ready to mash them drain well, and return to pot.

2. After starting potatoes, heat olive oil to medium in large skillet. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring often. Add beef substitute, and stir frequently until cooked through, about 7 minutes, or according to package instructions. Add sherry, worcestershire, hot sauce, tomatoes, tomato paste and salt to pan and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Add olives and raisins and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid is mostly absorbed.

4. While picadillo is simmering you can mash your potatoes. Add milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash with fork or mixer only until smooth. do not over mix!

5. Spoon half of mashed potatoes into the bottom of greased casserole dish. follow with all of the picadillo as one layer, and top with remaining mashed potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and top with vegan parm & nutritional yeast, and place under the broiler until the top is golden brown, about 5 minutes.


Preparation variation: you can prepare the picadillo the day before, if you wish. you will need to bring it to room temperature as the potatoes cook and then bake for 30 minutes, covered before topping and placing under broiler.

2 comments on “cuban shepherd’s pie/ tambor de picadillo

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