If you thought arepa's were our of your reach in your own kitchen, think again. This week we are bringing you a recipe from one of the our reader favorite spots—Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk, featured in Fairfield County Chef's Table—featuring one of their most popular dishes, the Carlo Arepa.
164 Main Street, Norwalk, CT 06851 | (203) 846-8009 | valencialuncheria.com
Carlo Arepa (serves 4)
For the chicken filling:
1 (31/2-pound) whole chicken
1 large white onion, julienned
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 poblano pepper, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 1 tablespoon oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
For the arepa dough:
21/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups white corn flour, preferably Harina Pan 1 tablespoon olive oil
Additional oil for cooking the arepas
For the stuffing:
1 avocado, sliced
1 cup shredded queso blanco
To make the chicken: Place the whole chicken in a soup pot, cover with lukewarm water, and boil on low until chicken is completely cooked. Remove chicken, allow chicken to cool, and pull meat off of bones. Discard bones and skin.
In separate sauté pan, sauté onions, garlic, poblano peppers, and red peppers in olive oil until softened. Add plum tomatoes, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on low for 30 minutes. Incorporate chicken but do not overstir. Toss in the chopped cilantro, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.
To make arepa dough: In mixing bowl, add warm water, salt, oil, fennel seeds, and brown sugar. Slowly incorporate the corn flour, while mixing by hand; if the flour is added too quickly, the dough will be lumpy. Mix until the flour is incorporated. It will resemble very smooth, wet dough. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Form the dough into 5-ounce patties. (This will make about 8 arepas, depending on size.) Make sure that edges of each patty are smooth and free of cracks. Coat the skillet with olive oil, and heat it over medium heat. Cook the arepas 5 minutes on each side, then place them on a baking sheet and cook in a 400°F oven for 5 minutes.
To serve: Slice each arepa halfway through and pinch the sides to create an opening. Stuff with chicken, avocado, and cheese, and serve.