I was inspired to make homemade arepas after several visits to one of our favorite restaurants in Minneapolis, Hola Arepa. What is an arepa you ask? Arepas are a latin specialty sandwich of cornmeal cakes filled with meats & cheeses and topped with a variety of condiments. They will become your new favorite sandwich!
The only trick is to find the pre-cooked cornmeal called arepa flour. All specialty Mexican grocers carry it (I found mine at Cinco De Mayo Mercado) or you can simply order online at Amazon. I like the P.A.N product. They are very simple to make and fun for groups because you can lay out all your condiments and have a fun Latin party!
Tip: you can make arepas ahead of time and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven.
- For the Arepas:
- 2 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups pre-cooked yellow cornmeal (I used P.A.N.)
- 1/4 cup canola oil.
- For the carnitas:
- 4–5 pound pork shoulder
- 2 Tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbls. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1Tbls. ground cumin
- 1 Tbls. dried oregano
- 1 Tbls. Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 onion, chopped
- For Assembly:
- 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- red onion
- queso fresco (shredded)
- Salsa Verde
- Mix the oil, salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, red pepper, garlic, bay leaves, lime juice, and orange juice in a small bowl.
- Rub paste liberally all over the pork. Place the pork and onion in a slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low until tender, 6-8 hours or on high 4-6 hours.
- Remove from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Shred the pork with 2 forks. Season again with salt and pepper.
- Set the pork back in the slow-cooker and keep warm in the cooking liquid.
- Preheat oven to broil. Place carnitas onto a baking sheet and broil until crisp and crusted about 3-4 minutes.
- For arepas, Stir water and salt together in a bowl. Gradually stir cornmeal into water with your fingers until mixture forms a soft, moist, malleable dough.
- Form golf ball-size balls into patties about 3/8-inch thick.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook corn patties until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer cooked arepas to a paper towel-lined cooking sheet and transfer to warm oven if not serving right way.
- To assemble, start with arepa, followed by a heaping scoop of carnitas, black beans, red onion. queso fresco, and salsa verde. Add another arepa on top if you would like to eat it as a sandwich.