Sometimes there is something that is so tasty you don’t want to change it, and other times there is something that gets exponentially tastier the more you add to it. Arepas are perfectly fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside corn meal cakes the hail from Venezuela. Being half Venezuelan, I grew up with these gems and could enjoy one at any moment, but tinkering in the kitchen is one of my favorite things to do so I couldn’t resist just playing around with this favorite. The results?
Part of the reason that I jazzed these up was for Lee. Though he loves arepas, having one with just butter and cheese isn’t enough for him. He wants more color, more smoke, more flavor and I don’t blame him. Plus, it gave me an excuse to play around.
Since I had some gorgeous poblanos and a leek that was on its way out I decided that I would try to put the two together and see what happened. First I roasted the poblano over an open flame, then diced and added it to the leeks and sautéd them in coconut oil until tender and golden.
Once that cooled, I mixed it with Harina Pan, warm water and a sprinkle of salt until my dough was soft and pliable. From there it was all down to my Oster Arepa maker to make some magic. You could always fry them or bake them in the oven too, but I couldn’t resist using my Oster.
The result was a bunch of small arepas sprinkled with smokey, sweet and savory flavor. I enjoyed mine with a touch of butter and cheese (classic right?) while Lee stuffed his with left over ground beef. These would be great with carne mechada too! And for even more fun, you could add a little shredded cheese to the arepa dough before cooking.
Oh yeah. I went there.
Roasted Poblano and Leek Arepas
Serves 4 (or a hungry 2)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 poblano, roasted and diced
1 cup leek, sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Harina Pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
* warm water
* butter, cheese, ground beef or other filling
In a sauté pan on medium heat add coconut oil. Once hot, add poblano and leek. Sauté until leeks are caramelized and tender. Remove and allow to cool.
In a medium sized bowl add Harina Pan. Add salt and stir. Stream in water until a soft dough forms.
Fold poblano and leek mixture into dough.
Turn on the arepa maker and preheat oven to 250F. Line baking sheet with aluminum and set aside.
Once arepa maker is hot, fill wells with arepa mixture. Press down and cook according to manufacturers directions. Place cooked arepas in oven to keep warm and continue until all arepas are cooked and crisp.
Slice arepas open and fill with butter, cheese, ground beef or any other tasty filling. Enjoy hot!