02 January 2012

Corned Beef and Rice

True story: before we started dating, I had never had traditional (Irish-style?) corned beef; my wife had never had Hispanic-style corned beef. There is a difference!

Like the part where it comes in a can (Goya Corned Beef via Wegmans)
The amusing thing about this is that when we would start talking about how much we like corned beef, she was thinking of a brisket while I was thinking about a stew/sauce.

I haven't been able to make corned beef my way for months now thanks to some sort of quarantine in Brazil, which is where a lot of the Hispanic-style corned beef comes from. Hopefully, I'll be able to remedy that soon.

As a bonus to you, I'm going to describe my simple method for making homemade sofrito (the cooking base for every stew I make [and then some]). Sofrito is great to make in quantity and save for further cooking, or you can buy it (also from Goya) at many supermarkets.

My recipe for it is simple, but tasty. Seriously, if you just want to make scrambled eggs instead and pour a spoonful or two of my sofrito on top, you'll be surprised at how good it tastes.

Someday I'll give you the recipe for Tortillas Españolas with Sofrito.

Since I describe making the sofrito here, this is going to seem like a more complicated meal to make than it actually is. Remember that you can make sofrito at any time and save it in a freezer bag or mason jar (refrigerate either way).

Sofrito Ingredients
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (or 1 Roma tomato if you don't have a food processor)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Whatever herbs and spices you like
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Sofrito Prep

Process the onion, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes separately. You're going to be adding them in at separate times because they each have different cooking times. If you don't have a food processor, you'll have to dice each of these separately, which is why I recommend using a Roma tomato instead of cherry tomatoes because it'll be easier to dice by hand. Also finely dice the garlic at this time.

Heat a skillet on medium-high heat with just enough olive oil in it to coat the bottom. When the oil starts to ripple, you're ready to start.

Sofrito Recipe
  1. Add the finely diced garlic to the heating oil and stir around for 30 seconds or so. Garlic burns very fast, but the point of adding the garlic in this early is to flavor the oil. It is not an integral component in the recipe.
  2. Add the processed or diced onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring on occasion.
  3. Add the processed or diced bell pepper. Sauté for another 5 minutes, continuing to stir on occasion.
  4. Add the processed or diced tomato. Sauté until the mixture has thickened, usually 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally. It's also during this step that if you have any other herbs or spices you want to add (I like oregano), you can add it.

That's it for the Sofrito. You can either add it to the pot in the next step (if you're a real multi-tasker), or bag or jar it and save it for future cooking. Once you try it, I think you'll come back to it often.

Corned Beef Ingredients
  • 1 can corned beef
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz. sofrito
  • 1 packet Goya Sazón
  • 3 Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

Corned Beef Prep

The main prep for the corned beef is skinning (save those skins) 1 potato and cubing all of them. What I do is I skin one potato completely; that is, I use the skinner to reduce the whole potato to skin-thick slices of potato. The other two potatoes can retain their skins.

The skinned portions virtually disintegrate in the stew, giving it some thickness.

Corned Beef Recipe
  1. In a stew pot, bring the water and olive oil to a boil.
  2. Add in the corned beef and mash it until it is no longer a solid block. Yes, I know it doesn't look great right now. Give it time!
  3. Bring to a boil again and start adding in the rest of the ingredients. I usually start with the potatoes (but not the skins), followed by tomato sauce, sofrito, Sazón, and then the skins. Each time you add something, stir the mixture.
  4. Bring to a "boil" again (basically till it's bubbling), stir, reduce heat, and cover.
  5. Stew until the mixture is nice and thick. Stir occasionally or those potato skins will stick to your pot!

When the stew's ready, serve it over white (or brown) rice!

Rice Recipe

Not as detailed here because rice should be easy to cook. Your ingredients are 1 cup of rice, 2 cups water, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp. of olive oil (I'm a fan). In a sauce pan, bring the water, olive oil, and salt to a boil. Add in the cup of rice. Bring to a boil, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low.

White rice will take about 22 minutes to absorb the water. Brown rice will take about 40 minutes to absorb the water. When the water's all gone, fluff it with a fork, add salt if you'd like, and serve. One cup of uncooked rice yields 2 cups of cooked rice. A serving is 1/2 a cup of cooked rice, so this recipe serves 4.


So that's my overly long recipe for you. I can assure you that it seems harder when you read it than it is. Sofrito can be made whenever and the stew and rice are both basically start-and-forget recipes as long as you've got a timer.



  1. Hey, dude - I just put a Jewish corned beef brisket in the refrigerator to brine for a 172 hours! How many ways can you use, cook, or create with corned beef? Evidently, the possibilities are endless. Loved your story and recipe! ~ Red Dirt Kelly

  2. Wow! I've never done this, but it looks good. Thanks for sharing.

  3. As a kid, we'd have corned beef hash with grits and eggs which iss something all together different from what you or your wife have in mind. Yes, it's very important to clarify - Smile! I'll try your recipe for Sofrito, looks very good.