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- 1/3 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup (about) boiling water
- 2/3 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
Finely grind cornmeal in blender, 1/4 cup at a time. Transfer to large bowl. Mix in cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and salt. Add enough boiling water to mixture to make very thick batter. Stir in corn.
Heat griddle or large skillet over medium heat with some of remaining melted butter. Working in batches and using 1 tablespoon batter for each corn cake, drop batter onto skillet and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Serve hot.
Cheese-Stuffed Colombian-style Arepas Recipe
Notes: Masarepa is dehydrated cooked corn meal. It is available in the Latin section of most supermarkets in wither white or yellow varieties. This recipe calls for white, but they can be freely substituted. Popular brands include Goya and P.A.N. Crumbled cheese can be added to the dough if desired. Depending on the moisture level of the cheese, you may not need all the water. Colombian-style queso fresco is ideal. If you can't find it, substitute cotija, ricotta salata, or feta.
- In a blender, process the corn kernels and chicken stock until smooth. Pour the cornmeal into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and sour cream. Pour in the chicken stock and corn mixture while stirring with your hands or a wooden spoon. Add the grated cheese. Form mixture into a ball. Then separate into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten into a pancake about 1/4-inch thick and 2 inches in diameter (but rub your fingers around the edge so that it maintains its thickness). At this point you can cover the arepas with a damp kitchen towel and refrigerate them for up to 1 day before grilling.
- Light a fire in a charcoal or gas grill. Brush the arepas lightly with the melted butter (for flavor and to prevent sticking). Grill the arepas until golden, about 3 minutes on each side. They should be toasted on the outside, but soft in the middle. Let cool to room temperature. Before serving, top with a spread of the farmer's cheese.
From Latin Grill: Sultry and Simple Food for Red-Hot Dinners and Parties by Rafael Palomino with Arlen Gargagliano. Text copyright © 2010 by Rafael Palomino photographs copyright © 2010 by Dan Goldberg. Published by Chronicle Books LLC.
Griddle cakes are elemental. Like porridge and roasted meat, they’re ancient preparations, seemingly slapped together at the fireside for as long as humans have gathered around that fire to eat. But in cooking, elemental never means unchanging. Corn griddle cakes, for example, simple folk food in dozens of cultures, come in many guises. Venezuelan or Columbia arepas. Oaxacan clayudas. Indonesian bregedel jagung. All-American cornmeal pancakes.
They may be basic, but they can have amazing flavor and texture, whatever the country of origin.
At Posh on Pico, a cafe with Latino-inspired food, chef-owner Maricarmen Rodriguez’s omelets and breakfast dishes come with arepas rather than hash browns or toast. Made with finely ground, precooked white corn flour, arepas are a mainstay in Colombia, where they are thin, and in Venezuela, where they’re thick and often stuffed with meat or vegetables. Like tortillas, they’re a bread-like staple, once made of corn pounded in a mortar and pestle and cooked on an earthenware griddle. In South America, arepas are often topped with or wrapped around slices of melting cheese, but some are stuffed with grated mild white cheese. Rodriguez, who is from Honduras, adds queso fresco, mozzarella or feta cheese to the batter, which is kneaded as it’s mixed.
The best way to eat arepas is straight off the griddle. They’re finger food, like toast, meant to be spread with butter or jam, or used as a scoop to eat other foods on the plate. Rodriguez’s arepas are thin, with a creamy flavor reminiscent of grits. But comparisons don’t apply. They may be patted out like tortillas, cooked on a griddle like pancakes and bring to mind your favorite cheese-grits recipe, but arepas have their own unique flavor and texture.
Fresh corn kernels are the basis for bregedel jagung, savory Indonesian corn cakes with shrimp and green onions. Corn was introduced to certain parts of Indonesia by the Spanish in the 17th century, notably to an island off Java called Madura.
Finely chopped shrimp, onions, celery, garlic and cilantro are mixed with eggs, corn and a little cream. The sweetness of the corn and cream is balanced by the distinctive brininess of the shrimp and the crunch of the herbs and vegetables.
These corn cakes make a terrific appetizer, two or three to a serving, or offered on a platter at a buffet. Although arepas and cornmeal pancakes are best straight off the griddle, they can be kept at room temperature, the way much food is eaten in Indonesia. That makes them perfect party food.
For the cakes that call for corn kernels, remember that Mexican corn is available in our markets year-round. Though it’s too tough in the winter to be great for eating on the cob, it works admirably in these dishes.
When making corn cakes, use a griddle, or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet -- or whatever you’d use to make pancakes. Rodriguez’s trick of flattening arepa dough between plastic sheets made from plastic bags (sturdier than regular plastic wrap) works well, or you can keep a bowl of water handy and moisten your fingers from time to time to keep the dough from sticking as you work. The malt-enriched corn pancakes from Doughboys cafe on West 3rd Street cook like regular pancakes, but quickly they need just a minute or two per side. Bregedel jagung are like fritters and have good body. They’re easily managed as you cook and don’t spread too much but retain a nice shape.
However you slap ‘em together, remember that you’re in good company -- the ghosts of a long line of griddle-cake makers are surely hovering around you as you work, waiting for one more delectable bite.
The World Cup Gourmet Series – Colombia: Cheese Stuffed Arepas
Hi y’all! Today I chose to feature a recipe in honor of Colombia, who is playing the quarter finals against Brazil on Friday. It took me a lot of research as I’m not that familiar with the Colombian gastronomy, but I’ve finally set my mind on one dish: Arepas!
Arepas are very popular in Colombia, usually eaten for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. It can be served with several accompaniments and toppings, such as cheese (the one I’m making today is filled with cheese!), butter, avocado, scrambled eggs, jelly, Colombian chorizo, hogao (which is a Colombian sauce made with onions, green onions, tomatoes, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper) or even split open and used to make sandwiches.
The term arepa comes from the word “erepa” which means corn bread in the indigenous language of Venezuela and Colombia. It is a type of flat, round corn cake patty (I think it looks like an English muffin or a tortilla, depending on how thick they were made!) made of soaked ground maize dough or cooked flour, and salt. It comes in different sizes, thicknesses, maize types and with different ingredients. It can be grilled, fried, baked and even boiled or steamed.
The Arepas have deep roots in the colonial farms and the indigenous cuisine. Back then they used to soak the maize grains and then peel and ground them in a large mortar know as pilón. Nowadays, thank God, you can buy pre cooked arepa flour. This flour is then mixed with water and salt, and occasionally oil, butter, eggs and milk.
I start by mixing in a bowl the pre cooked white corn meal (masarepa) with the oil, the salt and finally the warm water. I have to stress that it’s important that you use masarepa flour that is specific for arepas if you want them to be authentic! You can find it in the Latin aisle of your supermarket, usually by Goya or PAN. They come in white or yellow varieties, but I like the white better.
Mix the ingredients til the corn meal absorbs the water and forms a dough. Knead the dough with your hands until it’s smooth and manageable. If the dough is sticking to your hands, moisten your hands with cold water. Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and wait around 5 minutes for it to hydrate. If it feels dry after those 5 minutes, add more water (just a little at a time, cause you don’t want your Arepas to be gummy!) Divide your dough into 6 equal balls (I made two little and 4 medium).
Now it’s time to shape your Arepas. I’m sure there are lots of different techniques for this, but the one I’ve found to be the easiest is to cut a Ziploc bag in two and place the dough in between the two plastics and then shape the ball dough into a patty with my hands. Here you have a world of possibilities in shapes, sizes and thickness. You can use a rolling pin, you can use a cereal bowl or a cookie cutter to cut into the desired shape, etc. I shaped them with my hands because I wasn’t going to do them too thin anyway. I wanted them to be somewhat thick (1/3 inch thick and 4 to 6 inches wide) so I could open them later (after they are cooked) and fill them with cheese. I wanted them more on the English muffin side and less on the tortilla.
Some people stuff the Arepas with cheese before cooking them – they roll two Arepas, put cheese in the middle and them close them together and then cook. Or they add cheese to the dough. I chose to cook my Arepas first, then open them with a knife (like you do with an English muffin), stuff with cheese and pop back in the griddle, but I’m sure some people can vouch for the other techniques.
So pre heat your grill or griddle (even a frying pan would do!) to medium low. Once the griddle is hot enough, spray it with cooking spray and add the arepas. Cook them until golden brown, around 7 minutes each side. I prefer cooking them in medium low heat so they don’t burn outside while not yet fully cooking on the inside.
Wait for the arepas to be cool enough to handle and split them open with a knife. Add the cheese and then place them back in the griddle, this time on medium high heat, until the cheese melts.
Arepas are a patty-like food made from ground corn flour and mixed with warm water. They’re most popular in Colombia and Venezuela. I like them filled with cheese and served for breakfast with huevos pericos and avocado.
These were sorta sometimes my breakfast as a kid.
My mom isn’t Colombian so this wasn’t something she made for us. Instead, it was something that my dad’s aunt taught me how to make. But since I was a lazy teenager, I never wanted to make them. I’d drive to this little Colombian restaurant near my house where they sold them frozen in batches of twelve. I’d just heat them up in oven and boom…breakfast, lunch, a snack.
This and a Colombiana (a bright orange soda) were always my favorite after-school combination. In fact, all of my friends–none who were Colombian or even Latino–would come with me to the Colombian restaurant them with me.
Bandeja paisa is a popular dish typical of Colombian cuisine. It consists of a multitude of different preparations making it very colorful and appetizing.
Antioqueño beans are found there, they are dry red beans, usually of the bola roja variety, cooked with pig’s trotters, green plantain, carrot, cumin, cilantro and a mixture of two different sauces. The first is salsa de aliños which consists of red and green peppers, onions, garlic and saffron. The other sauce is salsa hogao, of Colombian Creole origin made with tomatoes, onions and garlic.
In addition to beans, bandeja paisa contains white rice, boiled beef, called carne molida, usually shank or brisket, flavored with onions, garlic and cumin. Once cooked, the meat is shredded and reduced to a kind of mince.
We also add chorizo cocido, morcilla (local black pudding), avocados, fried plantains, fried eggs, chicharrón, that is to say, long-boiled, dried pork breast or skin, which is then fried in oil to make it extremely crispy.
Finally, bandeja paisa is served with arepa, white corn buns that can be filled with ham, cheese, meat, beans or eggs. They are typical of Colombian or Venezuelan cuisine. The amount of butter they contain makes them very soft and delicious.
The whole dish is certainly hearty but also very fragrant and full of flavor. Bandeja paisa is usually served on a very large plate or directly on a platter. Colombian bandeja can also be flavored with mazamorra, an atole-like drink, and panela molida.
What is the origin of bandeja paisa?
Bandeja paisa is typical of the regions of Antioquia, Caldas, Eje Cafetero as well as north of the Cauca Valley and north of Tolima. The dish appeared in the 1950s and quickly became popular in Colombia.
The word, paisa, refers to the region of the same name, while bandeja means “plateau” in Spanish. The origins of the bandeja could be quite varied since it contains indigenous influences from Colombia but also Spanish, African, British and French.
Bandeja could also have developed in restaurants in Medellin and Bogota from another dish, the seco already made with rice, beans, meat, plantain and accompanied by arepa.
In 2005, the Colombian government wanted to make bandeja paisa its national dish by changing its name to bandeja montañera (Mountain Plateau). The proposal was met with rejection by many Colombians for whom the dish was not representative of the diet of the entire country. For them, bandeja paisa is exclusively consumed in certain regions. Today it is ajiaco that is often considered the official dish of Colombia.
How to prepare bandeja paisa
The preparation must imperatively begin with the preparation of chicharrón, beans and carne molida because these three preparations are the longest.
Once the beans are soaked, simply cook them with pieces of pig’s trotters which will give a creamy consistency to the sauce. During cooking, add the vegetables, salsa de aliños and cumin, before adding the hogao salsa and cilantro.
Once the beans are tender, simply remove the pig’s trotters, remove the bones and cut the meat into small pieces. The whole should be well tied and tasty.
Carne molida looks like stew, it is a piece of meat boiled for a long time in water after marinating it with cumin, onions and garlic. Once the meat is tender, it is chopped to a sort of mince.
The broth, once defatted and clarified, can be used for making soup, for example. Rice can be steamed or pilaf or simply cooked in water. The chorizo is cooked in water while the blood sausages and eggs are pan-fried. Plantains should be fried in oil just like chicharrón to make them crispy.
Arepas can be made very quickly by mixing together flour, salt and water. Then add melted butter and work the dough until it is no longer sticky. It is then enough to form round and flat pancakes and to cook them in the butter for a few minutes.
Bandeja paisa is presented on a large round or oval tray or in large plates that can hold all the elements. Raw avocado is added to the various elements, which will bring a lot of freshness to the dish.
What are the variations?
This large blend of preparations is reminiscent of other dishes such as an English mixed grill, French cassoulet, Brazilian feijoada or Cuban moros y cristianos.
In the Antioquia region, some restaurants add grilled beef steak, pork chops, or grilled liver to the bandeja paisa. You can also find lighter versions, such as in Bogota where chicken breast replaces the pork. You can also replace the blood sausage or chorizo with a simple fresh salad.
The traditional arepa served in Miami has two cornmeal pancakes with a layer of cheese inside. The pancakes are slightly sweet and have a delicious corn flavor. They're usually smeared with butter and cooked on a griddle.
"I made these today and used some shredded white cheddar with the mozzarella. They are very tasty! We are going to top them with pulled smoked pork for dinner. "
1 cup frozen corn kernels ground in FP
1 cup Arepa Flour or 1 cup finely ground yellow corn meal
1 cup mozzarella cheese (or combine w/other white cheese, or Mexican Cheese)
0.5 cup water (approximately)
1 Extra milk in case the mix is too dry
Corn Pancake Sandwiches "Arepas de Choclo" Preparation
•Grind frozen yellow corn kernels in a food processor.
You can find arepa flour at many Latin and Mexican markets. If there isn’t one near you, You can use finely ground yellow cornmeal. In a large bowl, mix the ground corn from the blender, arepa flour or cornmeal, salt, sugar, flour and shredded mozzarella.
•Bring the milk and water to a boil in a small pan. Add butter.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually add the hot milk and butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until there are no lumps. Caution this mixture will be hot. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick. Mixture should have the consistency to a thick pancake batter.
•Heat a lightly buttered griddle to medium. spoon the batter on to the griddle to form 4" round "pancakes". Cook the arepas in batches until crispy and golden brown on each side. Immediately place a slice or two of cheese on one arepa and cover with another to make a sandwich. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking until the cheese melts, flipping a few times.
•You may also make the pancakes only and store them in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve. Just lightly butter two pancakes, put a slice of cheese in between, and heat on the griddle at low heat until the cheese melts.
There are two more ways to make and eat these.
Because there is cheese in the dough, many people make them thicker and eat a single arepa -- instead of two arepas with melted cheese in the middle.
The second variation is to omit the cheese from the dough. Layer the cheese as indicated in the middle of two arepa halves, let them heat in the pan until the cheese is gooey, and enjoy.
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