Arepas are corn cakes popular in Latin American countries. Look for arepa flour in the international food section of large supermarkets or in an ethnic market. Don't substitute masa harina or cornmeal for the arepa flour, which is precooked. Store the flour in an airtight container in your freezer to extend its shelf life.
7.5 ounces (1 1/2 cups) yellow arepa flour (such as P.A.N. or masarepa)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped leftover cooked turkey breast
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp white cheddar cheese
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir well. Add 2 cups hot water; stir until well combined and smooth. Let stand 10 minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. (Dough should be moist.) Working with 1 portion at a time, roll each portion into a 3-inch circle (about 1/2 inch thick).
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 arepas to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned and crisp. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat procedure with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and remaining arepas. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until arepas sound hollow when lightly tapped.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add jalapeño, cumin seeds, and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, turkey, cilantro, and black pepper; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in cheese.
Remove arepas from oven; let stand 2 minutes. Cut a 3-inch pocket in the side of each arepa; spoon turkey mixture into arepas.
Soooo good! Perfect measurements! And the right amount per serving. I'll def. follow the suggestion of one of the reviewers to add the cheese at the end, but iinstead of sprinkle it, I'll put it inside. And I loved the idea of the little appetizers! Yum! A little note as of today 01/21/15: Since I last wrote this review, I have continued making these delicious arepas adding different leftover fillings. The possibilities are endless! The only change I have made is that I changed flour brands from P.A.N. (because it's a GMO product) to Bob's Red Mill Masa Harina *Golden Corn Flour* which is GMO free. Thank God! l so now life is perfect!
I couldn't find arepas flour any where, so I used masa harina, even though the recipe says not to. When I first took them out of the oven, I didn't think there was a pocket. I sliced one in half horizontally, and complained to my husband that there was no pocket, he laughed a me, and said honey, try cutting it vertically. I felt so silly, but there it was. So don't freak out if they are completely flat, there is indeed a pocket. I can't say this isthe best recipe I have ever had (I've made over 300), but it was definetly the most fun, to make and eat, we giggled the whole time. It was my most joyful dinner ever, very good, and a must try. I used cumin powder, as i thought the seeds were too much of a pain.
This meal was great, and a total surprise. When I made the arepas, they were the right diameter, but didn't seem as thick as they needed to be. They were fairly flat when they came out of the oven and I was doubtful the recipe was going to work. But when they were sliced open, lo and behold, there was a pocket. It'a almost unbelievable that such a simple stuffing can be so delicious, and the arepas have a great crunchy outer coating with a flavor that reminded me of a tortilla chip. The rest of the family loved it too (we omitted the jalapeno for the spice factor). Definitely try this!
I love this recipe!! I'm colombian and arepas are my favorite! Being able to use turkey left over on this recipe is a great idea.
The arepa directions are not accurate, you need to add more arepa flour that what the recipe indicates. I would recommend to follow the package instructions, or to put arepa flour until it becomes a dough that you can roll.
We also made a few changes:
-We wanted them as an appetizer, so we cut the size a bit less than half the original (so we end up with 30 patties).
- To easily stuff them, we pretty much created balls with the patty and pressed them just a bit.
-We reserved the cheese and the cilantro and sprinkled them over the arepas at end (letting the cheese melt a bit) We'll definitely make it again!!!
The filling was tasty and easy to put together with what was in the kitchen after Thanksgiving. However, the arepas did not come out as described. After following the directions the resulting cornmeal cakes were not hollow or even puffy. Perhaps a more detailed description of the cake forming process would help.
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