By far, my best way to use leftover chicken or roasted vegetables is to make arepas and stuff the leftovers inside. Arepas are the stuff of Saturday lunches when I do not intend to leave the house. They are hand-held cornmeal flat breads that are crispy, crunchy on the outside, and soft and warm on the inside. Split open, you can stuff them with your favorite shredded or ground meats, seafood, vegetables, cheese, beans, or any combination thereof.
Depending on whom you ask or what you read, arepas originated in Columbia or Venezuela and they are cousins to Salvadoran pupusas; all of which are generally street food. I would even say that they are a distant cousin to the Southern fried hoecake. While you can make arepas, pupusas, and hoecakes in varying sizes to your liking, the cornmeal, or corn flour, is what makes each of them different. To make arepas, you will need pre-cooked corn masa flour, which most major grocery stores now carry. I live in south Florida, so corn masa flour is staple item. It is important to use this type of corn flour to get the consistency and texture for proper good arepas. Once you have the corn masa flour, you only need water, salt, cooking oil, and the stuffing of your choice for the best weekend lunch.
My Recipe: AREPAS makes 6
3 c corn masa flour
1 c warm water
1 t kosher salt
1 ½ c stuffing of your choice: shredded chicken, beef, cheese, or pork; chopped or
ground beef, tofu, seafood, avocado, or roasted vegetables;
or any delicious combination that your taste buds desire
canola oil, as needed
In a large mixing bowl; add corn masa flour and kosher salt; make a well in the middle of the corn masa flour; add warm water; mix, by hand, until a soft, pliable dough is formed, adding additional tablespoons of water and/or corn masa flour as needed to ensure that the dough is not crumbly
Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow dough to rest for 10 minutes
Form dough into six equal golf-ball size balls; press each ball into a patty about 4” wide; cover dough and prepare griddle, cast-iron skillet, or large frying pan
Heat a griddle, cast-iron skillet, or large skillet, over medium-high heat; add 2 – 4 T of canola oil; add arepas, 3 at a time, and cook for 4 – 5 minutes until first side is crispy and browned; flip and cook until other side is the same; remove cooked arepas to a paper towels
Add more canola oil to pan as needed cooking the remaining arepas
Allow arepas to cool to touch; using a serrated knife, split open and stuff with your deliciousness; and serve
always in good T.A.S.T.E – cause you gottatastethis!