Michelle is at it again with another amazingly delicious and cheesy recipe to share! This one is special because it pays homage to her Venezuelan heritage.
What's an arepa? It is a flat, round and savory patty made of ground corn. It is made into a dough, cooked, then stuffed with filling. The arepa originated in South America from Venezuela and Colombia, it is now becoming a popular item in the US.
"I am half Venezuelan, so arepa ingredients are a staple in my pantry," said Michelle. "Arepas can be stuffed with cheese, butter, stewed meats, eggs, sliced avocados and more."
- 1 bag of P.A.N. Michelle’s mom prefers the white corn version. You can find it at some local hispanic markets or on Amazon.
- 1 Stepladder Creamery Cultured Butter
- 1 large wedge of any Stepladder Creamery cheese. In this recipe we used Rocky Butte, but LumberJack, Clothbound Cow Cheddar, Goat Cheddar or Moonstone would work as well
- Cooking oil if you don't have an Arepa maker
- An Arepa maker is helpful to have but, not necessary
Directions: Start by making the dough: 2.5 cups warm water, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 cups of water. Combine in a large bowl and mix with your hands and knead for 2 minutes. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes with a damp towel covering the bowl. Turn on the oven to 350 degrees if you do not have an arepa maker.
Roll the dough into balls: Divide the dough into about 10 pieces, roll into balls and flatten each with your hands into a disk. We recommend getting your hands wet and keeping them wet while rolling the balls. You do not want the balls / disks to have any cracks so add a few tablespoons of warm water as needed to keep from cracking.
Cook: In Michelle’s family they use an arepa maker which makes them crispy and cooked to perfection. If you have an arepa maker stick the dough disks in each slot and close until the desired golden brown 15- 20 minutes. If you don't have an arepa maker you can use a hot griddle.
The trick when grilling is to seal the arepas at a high temperature on an oiled grill for about 2-5 minutes on each side, then bake in the oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes on each side on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Cook until golden brown and they will slightly puff. A trick Michelle’s Aunt taught her is to tap the arepa very firmly with your index finger nail and if it's crispy / hard / makes a solid noise it's done!
Stuffing prep: While the arepas cook shred 1 large wedge of cheese (8oz). And pull out the butter and bring to room temperature if possible.
Stuffing: While the arepa is still hot, slice it open (like a hamburger bun), pull out a little bit of the dough (about 2-3 tablespoons), and add shredded cheese and butter. Close it quickly and let it all melt! Add some cheese and butter to the extra dough and let that melt before eating.
Eat while hot and enjoy!
For more authentic Venezuelan recipes, we recommend this book.