So, I heard about these things eons ago, and even tried to make them myself for our picnic in the park with G &C (which I'm realizing now I forgot to blog about - DUH!!). But I got some bad intel from the folks at Market of Choice when I called. The product they directed me to was NOT masarepa flour, which is required to make arepas (kind of a Venezuelan sandwich), but regular masa - the kind you’d make tortillas or tamales with. I’ll use it, so it’s not a great loss, but ever since I have been OBSESSED with finding this flour. Most of my searches yielded nothing (the local Hispanic foods shops had no idea what I was talking about, and the websites I searched were prohibitively expensive).
Well, a few weeks ago, I found the stuff online, it was fairly inexpensive, and so I bought, like 4 lbs of the stuff and waited for it to arrive - which it did last week.
I wasted no time picking up a pork shoulder so I could make carnitas, which was what a good portion of yesterday was spent doing. Well, waiting for it to cook, anyway. The actual prep was very quick.
I am tickled with the results and will be using this carnitas recipe again for the tamale day that C and I have planned - sometime in the not too distant future, I hope. There was not a lot of spice here, but a whole lot of flavor, and I can only tell you how wonderful the house smelled all day.
And just as promised, the arepa flour worked beautifully.
It’s great when a plan comes together.
1 4 - 5 lb pork shoulder, cut into 4” slices
1 Tbs salt
2 Tbs canola or vegetable oil
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 cinnamon stick
Peel from one orange
2 bay leaves
1 tsp ancho chile powder
1 tsp chipotle chile powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp ground oregano
1 Tbs whole peppercorns
1 bottle Mexican beer (I used Negrona)
1 Anaheim chile, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 350º. In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it begins to smoke. Rub salt into pork pieces and add to hot pan. Sear until brown on each side, about 5 minutes. Add vegetables and spices to the pork (with the exception of the Anaheim), dividing each ingredient evenly over the contents in the pot. Slowly pour in beer. Add enough water to come up to just below the top of the meat (about 2/3 of the way up the pot). Cover and place in oven. Bake for 3 ½ hours.
Remove pot from oven, and using a pair of tongs, ‘shred’ the meat, discarding any large chunks of fat and whatever whole peppercorns you run across. Also skim off any excess grease. There should be relatively little liquid left.
Sprinkle cut Anaheim over the top of the meat. Return to oven and allow to crisp up (uncovered) for about 15 to 20 minutes more.
2 cups masarepa flour
1 tsp salt
3 cups warm water
Combine arepa flour and salt in a large bowl. Slowly pour in water. Allow to soak in for a couple of minutes, and then mix thoroughly to make sure all of the flour is incorporated.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add a pat of butter and allow to melt and start to sizzle.
Create patties of the arepa mixture about 4 - 5” across and about 1/2” thick. Place patties in heated skillet. Cook until golden brown on one side (about 10 minutes), and then flip the arepas over and continue to cook until golden on the other side.
Remove to a plate and allow to cool slightly. Slice open with a knife and scoop out part of the ‘doughy’ inside. Fill as desired.