Arepas are a naturally gluten-free cornmeal pita pocket from Venezuela. Commonly enjoyed for breakfast, this version is stuffed with shredded Ontario flank steak. This hearty meal takes arepas from breakfast to lunch, and an easy favourite for your family’s table.
Serves 4 | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 2.5 hours | Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
¾ lb (350 grams) Ontario flank steak
¼ cup (60 mL) dry red wine
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 white onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
½ cup (125 mL) crushed tomatoes
3 cups (750 mL) low-sodium beef stock
1/2 cup (125 mL) sliced pimentos
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme
1 tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano
salt and pepper
For the Arepa*:
1 ¼ cups (310 mL) warm water
½ tsp (2 mL) salt
¾ cup (180 mL) Harina PAN** (pre-cooked white cornmeal)
2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil
For the carne mechada, heat oil in a large pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the flank steak and sear on both sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove the meat and deglaze the pot with wine. Stir in garlic, chopped onion, bay leaves, crushed tomatoes, and low-sodium beef stock (enough to cover the meat). Add the flank steak back to the pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 2 hours, or until fork tender.
Remove the flank steak from the pot and shred using two forks. Increase the heat to high. Once the mixture is boiling, add the pimentos, green peppers, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, oregano, and shredded flank steak, season with salt and pepper. Cook uncovered until liquid has reduced by half, about 30 minutes.
During these last 30 minutes, make the arepas. In a mixing bowl combine the water, salt and Harina PAN. Knead into a smooth ball. Divide into four evenly sized dough balls. Cover with a damp tea towel.
To cook, preheat the oven to 400°F and heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. While the oil heats, shape each arepa into a disc about 1 cm thick using wet hands. Repeat with remaining arepas. Sear the arepas in the skillet in batches until golden on both sides, 2 minutes per side. Arrange on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven for 15 minutes. Check doneness by lightly tapping on the arepa, when it sounds hollow the arepa is fully cooked.
Carefully split the arepas open. Stuff with warm carne mechada and enjoy immediately.
*Arepas can be substituted for a crusty Kaiser roll or thick Greek-style pita bread.
**Available in better supermarkets and Latin grocery stores.
Per serving:Calories 332, Fat 11 grams, Cholesterol 35 mg, Sodium 472 mg, Carbohydrates 49 grams, Fibre 5 grams, Sugar 2 grams, Protein 19 grams
One serving contains 13% of the % DV of Iron.
One serving contains 36% of the % DV of Vitamin B12
One serving contains 13% of the % DV of Vitamin A