Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Arepas

As always I am looking for a great new dish that is gluten free. I stumbled upon Arepas. Arepas are corn cakes made from pre-cooked corn flour, water, and salt and cooked on a griddle.It is funny if you google them. It is as if everyone is arguing over what Country they are from. Columbia, Venezuela, etc.. So whatever country you think they are from... here is what I think. You can top them with pretty much anything. That makes it more perfect. I am going to make half of them with Chicken and the other half vegetarian. To make these you need Masarepa, which living here in SoCal... you can find it at any market.

Masarepa is precooked, ground corn flour that is used to prepare arepas. Arepas were traditionally made by soaking the corn and then manually pounding the grains to remove the seed germ and the outer lining. The remaining part of the corn was then cooked and ground, and made into arepas. This labor intensive process is now done on an industrial level, so you can buy the dried precooked corn flour and make arepas quickly and easily. Masarepa should not be confused wtih masa harina which is for making tortillas and is ground corn that has been treated with lime.

Arepas
2 cups masarepa
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups warm water
butter for grilling

Topping
1 TB Olive Oil
1/2 pound chicken
3 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 avocado, sliced
queso fresco or any nice melting cheese.

Rub your chicken down with all herbs and spices. Begin to brown your chicken in a large skillet over medium heat and Olive Oil. You want it to get nice and browned.
Add your garlic, onions and Cook for 5 minutes. Add Chicken stock and cover and cook on medium low for 2 hours. The chicken should pull apart really easily. I shred it.

In large bowl, combine masarepa, water, and salt and stir until combined. Allow to sit for five minutes. While you're allowing it to rest, heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat, melting enough butter to grill the cakes you're about to make. Now, form 8 small balls of the mixture, pressing each down until they make a 4-5 inch tortilla, about 1/2 an inch thick. Grill each until golden on each side.
Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Take your arepas, top with above meat mixture, queso fresco, and then top with the slices of avocado.
Yum!
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