Arepas with Chorizo

What is an Arepa? Arepas are the corn patties in the dish you see pictured above, they are made of a special corn flour that has been pre-cooked and they are popular in various parts of Latin America and especially in Colombia and Venezuela. A popular brand name for the special corn flour is Harina P.A.N. (we pick up ours at Superstore)

I had my first opportunity to try an arepa while I was living in Fredericton New Brunswick. I was in Fredericton for several months during the first part of a Canada World Youth volunteer exchange program and I was set up with the most incredible host family who were originally from Colombia. My host mother, Marisa, would make delicious food and arepas were part of the weekly menu. In the house the arepa was just a common breakfast item, but for me they were something completely unique. I would always rave about the arepas whenever we had them and so when it was time to leave the community after our 3 1/2 month stay I was given the greatest send off package of a dozen freshly made arepas from Marisa. In Fredericton we ate the arepas in the morning as a quick breakfast with some cheese, butter and eggs and even now, years later, the smell of arepas cooking bring back strong memories of living with my maritime family.

This version of arepas served with the grilled chorizo sausage, guacamole and plantain garnish is inspired by one of the dishes me and Fabio had at our anniversary dinner this year at Baru Latino – a great latin restaurant here in Vancouver. We’ve modeled the presentation after the dish at Baru.

Me and Fabio made these as an evening snack but have also made miniature versions of the arepas with smaller slices of chorizo to serve as an appetizer before a lighter main course. We recommend to go heavy on the lime juice in the guacamole as it really brightens the flavors of the whole dish.

This recipe will make a dozen arepas.

The Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Harina P.A.N / tazas Harina P.A.N
  • 1 1/4 cups milk / tazas de leche
  • 2 tbsps butter / cucharas de mantequilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt / cucharilla de sal
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar / cuchara de azúcar
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella / taza de queso mozzarella
  • Chorizo sausage
  • 2 avocados / paltas
  • cilantro / culantro
  • juice of 1 lime / jugo de un limón
  • 1 plantain / plátano
  • vegetable oil for frying / aceite vegetal para freir

The Instructions

  • Heat the milk over medium heat until bubbles appear on sides of saucepan remove from heat and add butter in pieces – leave to melt / Calentar la leche sobre fuego medio hasta que salgan burbujas a los lados de la olla, sacar del fuego y agregar la mantequilla en pedazos – dejar que se derrita
  • In a large bowl combine Harina PAN, grated mozarella, sugar and salt and mix together. Pour the warm milk and butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix until combined and set aside / En un recipiente grande agregar la Harina P.A.N., el queso rallado, azúcar y sal y mezclar. Poner la mezcla de leche y mantequilla a los ingredientes secos y mezclar bien y dejar a lado

  • Form patties for arepas in your hand and set aside on a plate / Hacer arepas con sus manos con la masa y dejar aparte

Guacamole

  • Open avocados and add to a small bowl, smash together / Abrir las paltas y poner en un recipiente pequeno, aplastarlas
  • Chop a handful of cilantro and add to avocado, mix well and add juice of one lime and a pinch of salt / Picar un puñal de culantro y mezclar con las paltas, agregue jugo de un limón y un poco de sal y combinar bien

  • Slice skin of the plantain and peel off. Use a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips of plantain / Pelar los plátanos. Usar un pelador de verduras para cortar rajas delgadas de plátano
  • Heat oil over medium heat until a small piece of plantain added to the oil bubbles continuously / Calentar el aceite sobre fuego medio hasta que el aceite esta listo a freir
  • To obtain curvy plantain chips – fold thinly sliced plantain like an accordian and drop gently just above the oil. flip once as soon as chip begins to brown. As the plantain is so thin, this may only take 20 seconds or so. Remove with slotted spoon and rest on paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil / Para obtener el plátano frito con una forma curva, poner los plátanos a freir apretando gentilmente los lados haciendo una forma de acordeón (como las fotos abajo) , volcar cuando comienzen a cambiar de color, debe tomar como 20 segundos para freir los plátanos. Sacar del sartén y colocar los plátanos sobre papel de toalla
  • Once plantain is all fried, add a few tablespoons of hot oil to frying pan and keep heat at medium to fry arepas. Fry one at a time, turning only once. Remove to drain on paper towels / Cuando los plátanos esten fritos, colocar algunas cucharas de aceite caliente a un sartén y mantener fuego medio para cocinar las arepas. Freir una por una volcando solo una vez. Sacar del sartén y colocar sobre papel de toalla
  • While frying arepas, cut chorizo sausages in half and grill on panini grill or in grill pan until hot and crispy on outside with visible grill marks / Al mismo tiempo que esté haciendo freir las arepas, cortar los chorizos a la mitad y ponerlos a la parilla hasta que esten listos

Presentation / Presentación

  • Start with one Arepa on plate and top with two pieces of grilled chorizo, cut in half another arepa and place on top of chorizo. Top it off with a large spoonful of guacamole and a crispy plantain chip / Comienze con una arepa en el plato y colocar dos pedazos de chorizo, corte otra arepa a la mitad y colocar encima de los chorizos. Poner una cuchara grande de guacamole y el plátano frito encima

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