Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Arepas de Domino

This week's 52 Weeks of Cooking challenge  was to use 5 ingredients or less in a dish. I decided to try my hand at arepas, the biscuit-y corn cakes popular in Venezuela and Colombia. The inspiration comes from a food truck, Philly Delicias, which opened up about a block from my office back in January. My arepas didn't turn out as good as theirs, but what can you expect from a first try?

Ingredients (makes 6 arepas):

2 cups, masarepa (aka masa de arepa - PAN and Goya are two popular brands, I found both white and yellow corn varieties in my grocery store's ethnic aisle)
2.5 cups warm water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Black beans, prepared (1 15 oz. can, or equivalent)
Bacon fat
Cotija cheese

Start by preheating your oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine the masarepa and salt, mix, and then pour in the warm water. Mix the ingredients together with your hands, until a mass of dough is formed. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 5 minutes. Shape the dough into 6 discs, roughly hamburger sized. Heat a large skillet over medium for a few minutes, then add a layer of canola oil and saute the arepas until they start to get some color, about 5 minutes a side (you may need to do this in two batches - don't crowd the arepas in the pan). Transfer the arepas to a baking sheet (use a paper towel to sop up excess oil), and place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the arepas make a hollow sound when you tap on them.

While the arepas are baking, heat a frying pan over medium, add a spoonful (or you know, more) bacon fat, and saute the beans for about 5 minutes. Once the arepas are cooked through, split them down the center, fill with beans and top with cheese.


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