Chicken and avocado arepas

September 24, 2009 9:42:07 AM PDT
Learn how to make this South American bread you can fill with delicious seasonal ingredients.

MAIN DISHES

Arepas

Reina Pepiada: Shredded chicken salad (with cilantro, lime, mayonnaise), and sliced avocado

Carne Mechada: Shredded skirt steak, cooked in a base red peppers, onions, garlic, tomato, tomato paste, molasses (papelo?n), cilantro, salt

Pabello and Criollo: Fried plantains, "Carne Mechada," white cheese and black beans

Domino: Black beans (cooked in their own juice with onion, garlic, green onions, bacon, cilantro, parsley, bay leaf ) and cheese

Arepa Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of corn flour (Masa AREPA or Harina PAN, found in specialty stores)
  • Salt
  • 2 ½ cups of boiling water
Method:
  1. Combine flour and salt in large mixing bowl.

  2. Add water and mix to forma soft dough.

  3. Let dough rest for 5 minutes, then knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.

  4. Shape dough into arepas (about the shape and size of an English muffin). Cover until ready to grill.
Assembly of the Arepas
All arepas are assembled in the same manner:
  1. Cook arepa on a hot grill (tap center of arepa to determine doneness; it is ready when it sounds hollow).

  2. Take warm arepa, cut in half lengthwise to prepare for fillings.

  3. Insert desired fillings (see below).
Arepa Fillings
Caraotas Negras (Black Beans)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of black beans
  • Water
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and quartered
  • 1 Tbs papelón
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¼ cup of thick bacon cut in small pieces
  • Vegetable oil
  • Garlic
Method:
  1. Place beans in a bowl and rinse with water. Remove any beans that are broken or bad.

  2. To a large pot, add black beans, water to cover by 2 inches, onion, and red pepper; bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour or until beans have softened.

  3. Remove the onion and red bell pepper.

  4. Add papelón, salt, pepper and more water and continue to cook, skimming any white foam that forms at the top.

  5. Cook until beans are very soft.

  6. In a sauté pan, cook the bacon until soft-crisp and add to the black beans. Add onion and garlic to the remaining bacon fat and cook until browned. Add to the black beans.
Reina Pepeada (Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado)

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup of diced onions
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 4 white chicken breasts
  • 2 Avocados, pitted and skin removed
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cilantro, coarsely chopped as garnish
Method:
  1. In a sauté pan, warm the vegetable oil; add onions and garlic and cook until caramelized.

  2. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 10 minutes while stirring with a wooden spoon. When the chicken is done, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl to cool. When cool, shred chicken into small pieces.

  3. Mix the avocado, red onions, mayonnaise, Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper to get a creamy consistency.

  4. Mix chicken with avocado sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Keep cold.
Empanadas

Empanada Dough

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of corn flour
  • Salt
  • 2 ½ cups of boiling water
Method:
  1. Combine flour and salt in large mixing bowl.

  2. Add water and mix to get a soft dough.

  3. Let dough stand for 5 minutes, then knead.

  4. On a lightly floured wooden cutting board, roll dough until thin. Cut dough into circles, about four inches in diameter.
Assembly of the Empanadas
Filling choices: carne mechada, caraotas negras and white cheese
  1. Place one heaping teaspoon of the filling of choice in middle of each circle. Fold dough over in half, then pinch edges together in a semicircle to hold in filling.

  2. Heat oil in a deep frying pan until a drop of water sizzles when it lands in the oil. Fry empanadas in oil until golden brown, about three minutes per side. Drain empanadas on paper towels.
SIDES

Tostones (Green Fried Plantains)

Ingredients:

  • 2 green plantains
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
Method:
  1. Combine water, garlic and salt in medium-sized glass bowl and set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large pan. While oil is heating, peel plantains and slice lengthwise into 1-inch pieces. Add plantains to oil and fry until golden yellow in color.

  3. Remove the plantains from pan and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. With the back of a wide, wooden spatula, press each piece of plantain down to half its original size.

  4. Return plantains to pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 4 minutes per side.

  5. Remove to a dish lined with paper towels, and sprinkle with salt and garlic salt (if desired).
Chicken Chupe

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb chicken, cut into quarters, skin removed
  • Water
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1 garlic clove, diced
  • 1 leek, white part only, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 ears of corn, sliced into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 cup loose corn kernels
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ¼ cup white cheese (queso fresco or Cotija preferred)
Method:
  1. To make stock: Place chicken pieces and water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove chicken pieces from the water and set aside.

  2. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté onions and garlic until caramelized, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

  3. Add leeks to the pan. Transfer browned ingredients to stock pot.

  4. Add diced potatoes and corn kernels and slices to the stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.

  5. Dice the cooked chicken into small pieces. Add chicken, milk, cream, Tabasco, and cilantro to the soup.

  6. Season to taste with salt and pepper and once again bring soup to a low boil.

  7. Garnish with white cheese before serving soup.
Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, Executive Biographies

Adriana López Vermut
Owner/President
Born and raised in Venezuela, Adriana López Vermut studied anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked in marketing for a remittances start-up and later as a research analyst for RedShift Ventures, a Virginia-based venture capital firm funding technology start-ups. Pica Pica Maize Kitchen is the fruit of Adriana's desire to cross over to the entrepreneurial side, which also allows her to share her passion for native Venezuelan cuisine with the American public.

Luis H. Sosa
General Manager/Partner
Luis H. Sosa brings 26 years of diverse foodservice operations experience in Venezuela to Pica Pica. He previously owned a small group of empanadas and fruit juices quick service restaurants in Venezuela and also ran a number of different casual dining locations in Caracas. Luis views Pica Pica as a family and life project. He moved to Napa from Caracas with his wife and two children. They are all active participants of Pica Pica, which allows them all to stay closely connected to who they are as Venezuelans.

Leopoldo López Gil
Partner
Leopoldo López is a noted restaurateur and businessman from Caracas, Venezuela. He joins his daughter Adriana in making Pica Pica a family affair.


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