Today’s recipe has been a long time coming. Arepas are special to me because it’s the food we chose to have at our wedding, and I’ve almost been scared to try to recreate them since then. The whole process does take a bit of time, but don’t let that scare you! 2 hours of that time can be spent watching some March Madness while the pork is simmering away in a pot. Speaking of March Madness, I’m kind of in to it. Did you fill out a bracket?? Who do you have on top?
My husband is a 25 year KU fan, so when we met I had a feeling that would be my destiny if we got married. Lucky for me, they’re actually good. I can’t imagine how much harder that would be to be a die-hard fan of a forever losing team…although, I guess we did have some practice in that when we lived in Minnesota **ahem, pretty much all the pro sports teams there**.
Back to the arepas. They’re so darn good. And so simple, really. A tender pulled pork, a crispy cornmeal patty, and your toppings of choice. For me, I wanted to stay simple and so I made the meat the star by accenting it with cilantro, queso fresco or cotija cheese, black beans, and a squeeze of lime. You can try different meats in yours or switch out the toppings to whatever you’re feeling. I’ve had a variety of arepas and some of my other favorite toppings have been fried eggs, pickled cabbage, avocado sauces of all sorts, and even sweet potatoes and corn!
It’s really up to you.
You can just use the recipe below as a framework, but add whatever toppings you’re feeling.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 cups dehydrated cooked cornmeal
- 3 cups boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- To make pulled pork, heat oil in large stockpot over medium high heat, then brown pork shoulder pieces on all sides, about 10 minutes.
- Add in onion and garlic and saute 2 more minutes.
- Pour chicken broth and orange juice over top, put lid on pot, and let simmer on low until tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
- When pork has about an hour left, start to make your cornmeal arepas.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add boiling water to cornmeal and salt in mixing bowl, and stir until completely combined.
- Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in large skillet and form cornmeal dough into patties about 3/4 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter.
- Place cornmeal patties in skillet and cook for 5 minutes on each side.
- Place on baking sheet and bake arepas in oven for 15-20 minutes.
- While arepas are in the oven, combine drained black beans with salt, cinnamon, cumin, and paprika in small saucepan and bring to a boil.
- To assemble arepas, slice patties in half and stuff with shredded pulled pork, black beans, cilantro, and queso fresco.
- Garnish with lime.