CSA Week 5 - Arepas

Arepas are found in both Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine.  They're made of a special kind of cornmeal and they can be stuffed with wonderful things, or you can pile everything on top.  They're naturally gluten free and I've gotten pretty into them; I view them as a corn pancake with endless opportunities for toppings.  This time around I added shredded chicken, cheese, and shredded cabbage for crunch.  The cabbage was a CSA feature this week, and I've never really liked it before, but perhaps the simple crunch to the arepas was all I needed to turn me around.  And the green sauce?  I always ask for extra at my favorite Peruvian chicken place, for just these occasions.
I was at my parents place in VA this CSA week, and Eric and I got to dive into cabbage, zucchini and summer squash, swiss chard, blueberries, eggs, cherries, and peas.  In fact, I baked some zucchini fries to go with the arepas, and we devoured them.

We even had leftovers for breakfast the next morning, and a fried egg on top of everything.  It was amazing.
And arepas are really easy to make.  Combine the ingredients, knead a little, then divide into 4 and roll out!  They save well in the fridge, and I just heat them in a low oven for a few minutes before piling everything on top again.
This was my first foray into arepas- shredded chicken and avocado.  I think the cabbage was a necessary addition though, they needed the crunch.
Arepas with Shredded Chicken
serves 3-4

1 cup masarepa cornmeal
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
Oil for pan

Combine the cornmeal, water, oil, and salt, mixing thoroughly.  Let mixture stand for five minutes.

Knead for about 3 minutes moistening your hands with water as you do.

Divide the dough into 4 small balls.  Place each ball between 2 plastic bags (plastic wrap will work, but it's finicky) and use a rolling pin to flatten to about 1/4" thick.

Add another tablespoon of oil to a nonstick pan over medium heat.  Place the arepas in the pan, and cook about 3 minutes on each side, until a crust forms or they are turning golden brown.

The toppings I used were shredded chicken, a good melting cheese, shredded cabbage, green salsa, and guacamole.  Feel free to pile on whatever toppings you'd like, based on your diet or preferences.  Beans and plantains are next on my list!

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