Arepas Homemade


Arepas are one of my favorite savory treats. Never heard of arepas? They are essentially corn meal flatbreads that have origins in Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine. Once cooked, they can be eaten by themselves or used to make sandwiches. The corn meal used in arepas is unique because it's precooked to remove the seed germ, which results in a finer, almost flour like corn meal. The additional processing gives the arepas a milder corn flavor and a more even texture than other corn meal products like polenta. Finding good arepas is a challenge, so I tried my hand at making my own and they were so good! Making them myself generated a lot of dishes and you know how I feel about dishes, but otherwise they are easy to make. 

Arepas
Makes 10

2 cups arepa flour (Find it in the ethnic foods aisle. The bag pictured below cost less than $2 and is enough to make this recipe two and a half times)
3 cups warm vegetable broth
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
3 Tbsp butter

Potential fillings
Queso fresco
Smashed beans
Salsa
Shredded chicken or pork



Put the arepa flour into a bowl and slowly stir in the vegetable broth and sugar if using. Let sit for five minutes. Grab a fist sized ball of the dough and roll into a ball. Flatten it into a patty form roughly a half inch thick by pressing it down between palms. Repeat the process until ten patties are formed. 





In a large skillet, melt one tablespoon of butter over medium heat and add in three to four of the patties. Cook for three minutes on each side or until the arepa turns golden brown. Repeat the process until all the arepas are cooked. 





Crispy on the outside, doughy on the inside

There are a few options at this point. 

1. The arepas can be eaten.
2. After cooling, the arepas can be frozen for later use. 
3. The arepas can be used as bread to make sandwiches. 

I chose option number three. I filled two arepas with queso fresco and heated them in a skillet over low heat for a few minutes to melt the cheese. For sides, I served it with smashed beans (pinto and black beans heated and smashed with a wooden spoon) and a fresh tomato salsa with a few squeezes of lime. Shredded meat would also be a great filling. 





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