Lucy in the Larder

Reacquainted with Arepas

I thought I was meeting someone new on the weekend – Mr Arepas, at the Frenches Forrest Organic Market. But little did I know, we’d met before… same taste, but a different time and a different place.

Arepas are a staple food in both Venezuela and Colombia. Quite simply corn cakes, made from a special precooked corn flour (you want to use the PAN white cornmeal flour if you’re going to make your own). Colombian arepas tend to be thinner than Venezuelan ones – either way, I love their dense grittiness. Grilled or deep-fried, they’re a great accompaniment to any meal. The thicker ones are perfect for splitting and filling with cheese or meat. And the thinner ones smeared with butter or cream cheese for breakfast… that’s it! That’s where we’ve met before, breakfast in Morocco!

My friend Swebb was inspired to make her own arepas with pulled pork for dinner that night, and has kindly passed on the recipes she used from Everday Paleo. And the BBQ sauce (which really makes the whole thing) recipe from Civilized Caveman Cooking.

Arepas (
Makes: 12; Prep time: 45 minutes; Cook time: 15 minutes

2½ cups Harina PAN corneal
1 tsp salt
2 ¾ cups hot water
2 Tbsps melted butter
Vegetable oil

– Stir salt in to arepa flour
– Pour hot water over flour and mix well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the melted butter. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes
– If preparing the thicker, Venezuelan style arepas, separate dough into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball
– Place each ball in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or two ziplock bags and flatten gently with the bottom of a pot. Arepas should be about 3 inches in diameter and almost an inch thick. Use your fingers to smooth out any cracks along the edges. Place shaped arepas on cookie sheet, covered with plastic wrap
– If making the thinner, Colombian-style arepas, divide the dough into 20 pieces, and form into balls. Place balls between 2 pieces of plastic and flatten with a heavy pot or skillet until they are about 3 ½ inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick, using your fingers to smooth out any cracks along the edges. Place arepas on a cookie sheet, covered with plastic wrap
– Heat a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Place ½ tablespoon butter or oil in the skillet. Place several arepas in the pan, leaving room so that you can turn them
– Cook arepas about 5 minutes on each side. The surface should dry and form a crust. They will brown slightly, but do not let them brown too much. They should look like an english muffin. If they are browning too fast, lower the heat. Add more butter or oil for subsequent batches as needed
– The thinner arepas are done when they have formed a nice crust, but are still soft on the inside. Serve them hot
– The thicker, Venezuelan-style arepas finish cooking in the oven. Place them on a cookie sheet and heat for 15 minutes at 175 ‘C. Serve hot

Easy Pulled Pork
Serves: 6; Prep time: 5 minutes; Cook time: 10 hours (in the slow cooker)

2 kg pork butt roast
2 yellow onions, sliced
Dry Rub:
3 Tbsps chili powder
1 tsp coriander
2 tsps cumin
2 tsps onion powder
1 Tbsp dried parsley

¼ tsp chipotle powder
2 tsps sea salt

– Mix all dry rub ingredients together. Rub the entire roast with the dry rub – you should use it all. Place a layer of onions on the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the roast on top. Put the rest of the sliced onions on top of the slow cooker (no liquid required)
– Cook the roast on high for 5-6 hours and then turn down to low for another 3-4 hours or until the roast is literally falling apart and easy to shred

Beasty BBQ sauce (
Makes: 4 Cups; Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 60 minutes

3 tomatoes, diced
1 white onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
175g tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cayenne
*For sweetness add 1 can of diced pineapple

– Combine all ingredients above in a sauce pan and place on stove over medium heat stirring frequently
– Once your sauce starts to boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 60 minutes
– Once your sauce has simmered, turn off the heat and pour your sauce into a blender or food processor and run until you get a nice smooth sauce consistency
– Return to the pan to keep warm or place on the food of your choice
– Store in the refrigerator

This entry was published on November 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm. It’s filed under Lucy's plate, Recipes, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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