Why It Works
- Braising the pork shoulder for several hours breaks down its tough connective tissue, yielding tender, shreddable meat.
- Reducing the braising liquid concentrates its flavor. The liquid is then added back to the shredded pork, resulting in a rich, moist filling for the arepas.
This filling for Venezuelan-style arepas is my own take on arepas rumberas—"Party Arepas," so-called because they're the kind of thing you want to eat after a night of drinking a bit too much cerveza and aguardiente. Made with pork shoulder stewed in stock with roasted chiles and onions, it's topped with cilantro and dry crumbled fresh cheese (you can use Mexican queso fresco, queso blanco, or even feta).
Traditional? No. Delicious? That's a big si.
April 19, 2012
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 medium cloves garlic, grated on microplane grater (about 2 teaspoons)
1 roasted poblano or hatch chile, fresh, frozen, or canned, finely chopped
2 cups low sodium homemade or store-bought chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 cup finely crumbled queso fresco, cotija, or feta
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Double recipe Venezuelan-Style Arepas
Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Add pork shoulder and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate.
Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add chile and chicken stock and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Return pork to the pot along with bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a bare simmer. Cover and cook until pork is completely tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
Remove pork from pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a medium bowl. Discard bay leaves, and increase heat to high. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Meanwhile, shred pork with 2 forks. Add liquid to pork and season to taste with salt and pepper (it may not need any salt).
Set aside while you make the Venezuelan-style arepas. Split arepas, stuff with pork, top with crumbled cheese and cilantro, and serve with lime wedges and avocado slices if desired.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 27g||35%|
|Saturated Fat 11g||55%|
|Total Carbohydrate 40g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||11%|
|Total Sugars 2g|
|Vitamin C 8mg||42%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|