These bite-size arepas are perfect for a New Years celebration, as they are topped with black-eyed peas and collard greens - both traditional good luck foods for the new year.Arepas are corn cakes, very popular in both Venezuela and Colombia, which are prepared with a special cornmeal called masarepa. Arepas are normally about 3 inches in diameter or even larger, and they are often split and served with a filling, like a sandwich. Arepas are traditional street food, and there are many popular filling combinations, some with creative names like reina pepiada.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 30-40 appetizer-size arepas
- For the Arepas:
- 2 cups masarepa cornmeal
- 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons of butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- For the Topping:
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas
- 3 pieces of bacon
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher slat
- 1/2 pound collard greens
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced ham
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 tomato, diced
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse black-eyed peas, and place them in a sauce pan. Cover them with several inches of water. Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt to the water, and bring water to a rolling boil. Turn down the heat and simmer black-eyed peas until desired tenderness, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain black-eyed peas in a colander, and set aside. If using frozen black-eyed peas, follow cooking directions on the bag.
- While the black-eyed peas are cooking, prepare the arepa dough: Place the corn kernels and the water in a food processor or blender and process briefly until the corn kernels are roughly chopped. Place the masarepa cornmeal in a bowl. Stir in the sugar, salt, and flour. Stir in the melted butter, corn and water mixture, and buttermilk until well mixed. Knead mixture gently, then cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Wash the collard greens. Roll the leaves up into bunches, then slice the bunches thinly crosswise, so that the leaves are cut into thin strips. Peel and mince the garlic. Chop the onion and tomato finely, and chop the ham into small dice (1/4-1/2 inch cubes).
- Place the bacon in a large, heavy skillet (cast iron works well), and cook over medium heat until bacon is crispy. Remove bacon from skillet and place on a paper towel to cool. Add the garlic to the skillet along with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté garlic in the bacon grease until it's golden brown and fragrant. Add the collard greens and cook them, stirring often, until they are bright green and soft, about 3-4 minutes. Remove collard greens from skillet and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet. Add the chopped onions and tomato and cook, stirring, until onions are translucent. Add the chopped ham and cook for several more minutes. Add the black eyed peas and cook, stirring, for several more minutes. Stir in the collard greens. Transfer mixture to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Take 1-2 tablespoons of the arepa mixture and shape it with your hands into a ball. Flatten the ball into a silver dollar size disk, about 1/3 of an inch thick. Repeat with remaining arepa dough.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the small arepas to the skillet (in batches if necessary), and cook until both sides are lightly browned and crispy. Remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Reheat black-eyed mixture in the microwave if desired. Place a small dollop of sour cream on each arepa, then top with a spoonful of the black-eyed pea mixture.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.