Puerto Rican stewed corned beef AKA carne bif is a popular dish in Puerto Rico with simple pantry ingredients, yet bold flavors!
For those unfamiliar with Puerto Rican cuisine, we are all about good old fashioned comfort food. Something about my mother’s Puerto Rican cooking just warms my soul. Food is family, and carne bif, in particular, reminds me of home. It’s one of those oldies, but goodies.
This dish was likely born out of necessity, and now has achieved cult-like status as a nostalgic classic that brings back many childhood memories. This dish isn’t something I have too often, as it’s not the healthiest option. But when I do make it, it definitely transports me back to simpler times, and isn’t that the whole point of food, anyway?
What is Puerto Rican Carne Bif?
Canned corned beef (AKA carne bif) is an absolute Puerto Rican pantry staple – so much so, that in 2011, when a huge recall completely disrupted the island’s supply, people just about went nuts. Canned corned beef = gold in a can. It’s crazy, maybe, but believe me, I get it. There’s just no substitute for this stuff. Regular deli sliced corned beef just won’t cut it. You need the canned stuff. The canned corned beef is stewed with sofrito, tomato sauce, and spices like adobo and sazon, along with corn kernels. I add diced potatoes into the stew as well. This transforms humble canned corned beef into a delicious Puerto Rican delicacy known as Carne Bif.
What To Serve With Puerto Rican Carne Bif?
Puerto Rican carne bif is inexpensive, uses common ingredients in Latin households, and can be made in no time. We don’t have to sacrifice flavor when trying to save money! I like to serve my carne bif with platanos maduros (fried sweet plantains), but it’s also commonly served with a big pile of french fries in Puerto Rico. A side of white rice and some avocado rounds out this delicious, comforting bowl of nostalgia.
Check out these other classic Puerto Rican recipes!
- Carne Guisada (Puerto Rican Beef Stew)
- Bistec Encebollado (Puerto Rican Steak and Onions)
- Asopao De Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken & Rice Stew)
- Arroz Con Gandules (Puerto Rican Rice with Pigeon Peas)
- Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)
- Puerto Rican Pasteles De Yuca
- Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Rum Drink, Egg-Free & Vegan Versions)
- Natilla (Puerto Rican Custard Dessert)
- Coconut Cream Cheese Flan (Flan De Coco)
What’s your fave childhood dish that screams nostalgia? Comment below!
Carne Bif (Puerto Rican Stewed Corned Beef)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sofrito homemade or store-bought
- 12 ounce canned corned beef
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 tsp Adobo all-purpose seasoning
- 2 tsp Sazon seasoning with achiote y culantro
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sweet corn kernels fresh, frozen, or canned
- 1 cup cooked diced potatoes, about 1 large potato optional
- 2 tablespoons pimento stuffed olives optional
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat a saute pan on medium heat, and add the olive oil and sofrito.
Saute the sofrito until fragrant, but make sure it doesn’t start to brown. This should take a minute or two.
Add in the canned corned beef and break it up with the back of a spoon, the same way you would with ground meat.
Next, add the Adobo, Sazon & tomato sauce.
Stir in the seasonings, and add the water.
Lastly, stir in the corn and cooked diced potatoes.
Cover with a lid and allow to simmer on a low flame for 5-10 minutes.
Serve with rice, avocados and maduros or french fries for the full, authentic experience!
I call corned beef my emergency food. I live in Puerto Rico and it was a life saver during Hurricane Maria. I like to eat my corned beef with french fries and a fried egg over white rice. It also tastes really good inside an Empanadilla. =)
One of my favorite recipes growing up, when we first moved to New York things were tight, this is one recipe that has fed many Puerto Ricans during those times, thankfully, we are better off right now but I make it as a way to remember that ten year old jibarito and his Mom.
Never forget your humble beginnings.
Yes this always reminds me of home!
When my daughter said she is coming by I decided to make 3 of your recipes. Habichuelas Guisadas, Corned Beef and Pollo Guisado, cause mama can’t send her grown baby (lol) home without preparing some food for her. Everything came out amazing, and the house smell sooo good..
This has been one of my absolute main dishes to make.. my hubby loves it and made it again last week when my parents came and my dad couldn’t get enough, he even took some home and ate all the leftovers… this is definitely a quick dinner on those days you need to make something fast , easy and simple
Ivette I am definitely there with you girl!!!! You just can’t leave off the french fries. However, I’ve never had it with corn so if someone has actually tried this recipe I would really love to get feedback. Willing to try it since I just love corned beef. I definitely have to email my son this recipe since it is one of. his favorite Latin Foods.
My mom always made it with corn so that’s how I wrote my recipe. And yes french fries are an absolute must!
I made this for lunch today. It was so delicious and easy to put together.
You actually forgot the most important ingredient. Papas acabadas de freir. (Sizzling French Fries right out of the frying pan mixed into the corned beef. You haven’t lived!!!!!
This recipe brings back so many memories of when my mom would make it , and add the crispy French fries at the end . So good
served with white rice made with “tocino “.