Veggie-Filled Arepas

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One day I was craving to make something new, specifically Hispanic food. I ran across a recipe for something called “Arepas” which are corn cakes made from corn flour. They are made in Venezuela and Columbia and can paired with butter or meat. Since I made them I have been addicted to these corn cakes. They take a bit of practice to make but are so rewarding.

For the Arepas
Half a packet of Sazón com Azafrán (or any seasoning)
Corn Flour (PAN is what I used)
Hot Water
Olive Oil

For the Filling
1 cup chopped red onion
1 small chopped red bell pepper
1 small chopped yellow/orange bell pepper
1 corn on the cob (fresh preferably)
1 can of black beans
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 cup of kale
1 packet of Sazón
1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
Cilantro
2 whole tomatoes
1 jar of Goya Cilantro or Tomato Cooking base
Black pepper
Olive Oil

Filling
(Start the filling first and let it simmer while you cook the arepas. The filling takes the longest and the arepas need undivided attention.)

1. Boil a pot of water deep enough to drop in the raw corn. While the water is boiling heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a deep skillet. When the oil is hot (medium-high heat) throw in your chopped garlic, onions, and bell peppers.
2. When water is boiling, unhusk corn and throw into water for 3-4 minutes. Remove after this time and let cool. Let the water continue boiling and drop in the two whole tomatoes. Let these cook until the skill is translucent and peeling off in the water. Put to the side to cool.
3. Sauté your vegetables in the frying pan. It is important that you cook the peppers throughly until soft. I cook slow so it usually takes me 20 minutes as I cover them and turn the heat to medium low.
4. In another pan (or microwave), heat your drained black beans according to directions. If in a pan, add kale and cook till withers. The moisture in the beans will steam them.
5. Remove the kernels from the corn with a knife. (Slice down the cob against the core.) Remove the skin from the cooled tomatoes and the stem/hard core. Slice up the the tomatoes. They don’t have to be perfect.
6. Take your corn, tomatoes, cooked vegetables, beans, and kale and add placed into a deep pot. Pour in the entire jar of Goya cooking base with a packet of Sazón and some black pepper. Add some chopped cilantro. Stir throughly and cook on a simmer, covered.
7. When your arepas are cooling turn off the heat.

Arepas
1. Prepare your arepas according the directions on the bag. Before adding the water, add 1/4 to 1/2 of a packet of Sazón to the flour.
2. Use your hands to mix and knead the mixture after adding the water. I like to create patties that are about 1/2 inch thick and 4 inches wide. If they are too dense it’ll be tough to eat them.
3. Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a frying pan. At the same time preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

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4. YOUR OIL MUST BE HOT before adding two to three arepa patties to the pan. Don’t touch them as you let them fry on each side for about 2-3 minutes to form a browned crust. Transfer each crusted arepa to a baking sheet.
5. When finished bake arepas in the oven at 450 degrees for exactly 15 minutes.
6. They are done when you thump the crust and they sound hollow. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Finishing

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1. Slice the arepas through the middle. Either you can scoop out the moist insides for more room for the filling or let it be. I don’t scoop out the insides because I am greedy haha. Add about two tablespoons of the filling.
2. Add mozzarella cheese.
3. Add a scoop of fresh guacamole, salsa, and/or sour cream.
4. Enjoy this messy goodness. You will need a fork.

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