Recipe courtesy of Arempa's

Arempas Pabellón Arepa

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr
  • Active: 2 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings


Shredded Beef:






Special equipment:
a deep fat-fry thermometer
  1. For the Shredded Beef: Cut the beef into small pieces. Add to a large pot along with the green onions and garlic. Add enough water to cover the beef. Bring to a boil, lower to a high simmer and cook until the beef is tender, about 3 hours. (Add more water as needed.)
  2. Once tender, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the beef, discard the green onion and garlic. Shred the beef and add back to the pot. Add the Sofrito (see recipe below), sazon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, cilantro and the reserved 1 cup of cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Set the beef aside.
  3. For the Plantains: Add enough oil to a large saucepan so it comes up about halfway up the side. Attach a deep fat-fry thermometer and bring to 350 degrees F. Peel the plantain and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices on the diagonal. Fry batches in the hot oil until golden brown turning as needed, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. For the Beans: Add the beans, sofrito (see recipe below), garlic powder, Italian seasoning, sazon, salt and cilantro to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring, enough for the beans to heat and the flavors to meld, about 6 minutes.
  5. For the Dough: Follow the package instructions on the bag of precooked cornmeal to make enough dough for 6 arepas (see Cook's Note).
  6. To shape the arepas, grab a portion of dough big enough to fit in your hand and roll it into a ball. Begin to flatten it like the shape and size of a hamburger patty.
  7. Add enough oil to a large skillet to just coat the bottom. Heat over medium-high. Add as many arepas as you can to skillet without overcrowding. Cook until golden, 5 minutes per side. Repeat if needed.
  8. Build the arepas: Insert a small, sharp knife into the edge of an arepa and work it slowly to open up a pocket. Once opened, stuff with some shredded beef, then some plantains, then some beans and finally cheese at the very top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients. Take a big bite and enjoy! This is going to be messy but sooo delicious.


Yield: Makes about 1 cup
  1. Finely chop the green onions, garlic, yellow onion and pepper together. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and translucent. Cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Cook’s Note

My preferred method for making the cornmeal dough is to get a mixing bowl and add the water and salt first. While slowly adding the cornmeal and massaging with your hands to avoid crumbs. You're looking for a moist and soft texture that won't stick to your fingers. Let it sit for a few minutes. If the dough is too stiff, you can always add more water to soften back up.