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This Recipe Will Have Homemade Arepas On Your Table In an Hour

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In rather fitting fashion for this cultural melting pot of a recipe, the first time I ate an arepa I was neither in its home, South America, or my home, the U.S., where it’s a regional specialty in places like Miami, FL.

I was in Spain, led by the casual suggestion of a hostel employee who must have thought it’d be funny to send the American to a Venezuelan spot when asked what Spanish restaurants were good in the area (which, hey, it definitely is). Regardless, those golden brown corn cakes, sliced open and brimming with an array of meats, fish, sauces, and cheeses, were a fond highlight of the trip. So, the moment I caught wind of this recipe that could be made in the comfort of my own home, and used the ever convenient Bumble Bee® Tuna as it’s unique star, I knew it was time to give it a go.

Arepas are traditionally made with masarepa, a corn product that’s produced by soaking dried corn, separating their outer lining and seed germ, and then cooking and grounding what’s left over. Thankfully, masarepa can be bought at most Latin markets. Look for P.A.N. Harina De Maiz, it’s widely regarded as the chef’s choice.

To start, mix about two cups of the cornmeal with two and a half cups of warm water and a tablespoon of salt. Knead this into a soft dough, and allow it to rest for five minutes. During this time, heat a cup of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat, and preheat the oven to 350.

Once the dough has sat, split it into four portions, and form them into balls before flattening them into thick, even disks. Then, when the skillet is up to ideal heat, fry each disk until lightly browned on each side. After that, leave them in the oven to keep warm.

Now, bring another skillet to medium-high heat, after adding a teaspoon of vegetable oil (or use the arepa skillet with most of the oil drained, who am I to judge?). Drain, then add, the can of corn and cook for about five minutes or until browned. Next, toss in two pouches of Bumble Bee® Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt Tuna and cook until hot.

Alright. Preparation done.

It’s time for assembly.

Take the warm arepas and slice them width-wise. Place a slice of American cheese and a scoop of the tuna-corn combo on the bottom bun, and then bring the queso into the mix with a healthy sprinkle of cotija cheese. Finally, top with some cilantro and there it is — a delicious arepa in the comfort of your own home.

As with any recipe, feel free to spice this up with additional ingredients. Avocado, mayo-based spreads, and beans are all traditional arepas fillings. But, really, the beauty of the arepa lies in its flexibility.

And if that beauty can be made in under an hour? Count me in.

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Thanksgiving Leftover Arepas Let You Relive The Turkey Day Magic

After Thanksgiving, there’s always a massive pile of festive leftovers in the fridge you eat through for the next few days. You can get pretty creative with these recalentados, including this arepa that elevates the standard Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich to new heights.

Made with a quick homemade arepa you can prepare within minutes, this sandwich also gets a spicy and savory kick with the addition of bacon, Havarti cheese, and jalapeños. Combined with all of your recalentados, this makes for a hefty, hearty sandwich that’ll have you eating through the entire stock of turkey and mashed potatoes in no time at all.

You can find all of the ingredients needed on top of your leftovers for this arepa at Northgate Market. Northgate Market also has a holiday cookbook coming out that puts twists on the Thanksgiving classics as well, including a mole-sauced turkey that would make for a tasty addition to this sandwich.

If you want to make this mouthwatering arepa, peep the recipe below.

Servings: 2

Ingredients
For the arepas
1 cup P.A.N. pre-cooked white cornmeal
½ tsp salt
1 cup lukewarm water
2-4 Tbsp Pompeian Safflower oil (Enough to cover bottom of the frying pan)
For the filling
1/2 cup leftover mashed potatoes
1.2 cup leftover stuffing
1-2 cups leftover turkey meat
3-4 Tbsp cranberry sauce
4 slices bacon, cooked until crispy
4 slices Havarti cheese
¼ cup fresh jalapeño slices
1/2 cup leftover gravy, warm

Directions

Step 1
In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, water and salt. Knead dough a few times in a bowl, then divide into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then gently flatten to 4 inch discs.

Step 2
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook arepas in oil until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer cooked arepas to a paper towel-lined plate to drain until cool, about 5 minutes. Carefully slit arepas halfway and transfer to a lined baking sheet.

Step 3
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. To assemble, lay 2 slices of arepa and top in this order: 1/4 cup mashed potatoes, 2 slices cheese, jalapeño slices to taste and 1/4 cup of stuffing.

Step 4
Bake in the oven for 5 minutes to melt cheese. Include the remaining 2 arepa slices to get extra crispy.

Step 5
Finish by distributing the turkey between all cheese topped arepas, followed by cooked bacon.
Smear cranberry sauce on the 2 plain slices. Place cranberry side down and top arepas. Serve with a side of gravy for dipping and enjoy!


Created in partnership with Northgate Market