I discovered Arepas some time ago thanks to some of my blogging friends, and I posted my own green chili cheese variation. It was lovely and delicious, and I was so glad to have bought some Pan corn mix to make them. And then… I put the mix away in my cupboard in a ziploc bag and forgot about it for a while. This weekend as I was trying to decide what to have for breakfast, I happened to see that mix in the cupboard, and thought… why not? I’d been curious about the Venezuelan take on arepa with its perico scrambled egg filling… and I also wanted to try them with a plain cheese filling. So, authentic or not, a mix of recipes or not, I found myself making arepas stuffed with cheese and topped with perico. I added a dollup of hot sauce because something in the scramble just seemed to call for it… and found it was the perfect breakfast with coffee… and then the perfect lunch with a cool glass of lime water (no sugar).
The next time you have gluten-free breakfast doldroms, why not try an arepa, in one of its many forms? I bet you’ll find at least one that you love…
Gluten Free Cheese Feta Arepas with Venezuelan Perico
1 1/4 cup PAN
1 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp. salt
*1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
*1/4 cup feta cheese (not traditional, but what I had in my refrigerator), crumbled
*You can omit cheese for vegan arepa, or use vegan cheese sub
Preheat oven to 350 F. If you can’t put your arepa browning pan (say a nonstick pan) in the oven, preheat something like a pizza stone in the oven (covered with a sheet of aluminum foil.)
Combine your pan meal, salt and warm water in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Then shape it into two balls and knead each with your hands until they are smooth and ingredients are well combined. Cover the dough you are not working with with a damp paper towel to keep it from drying out. Pull off a small ball of dough and shape into a flat disk, and place a small pinch of mozzarella cheese in the center, along with an even smaller pinch of crumbled feta cheese. Carefully fold over the disk so you have a potsticker/ perogie half moon shape and then gently press out the crease where the dough comes together so that it is roughly in the center of a new, circular disk you are creating. Make sure the edges of your arepa are smooth. Heat a nonstick pan or cast iron pan (ideal) with a little olive oil or other favorite oil on medium. Brown each disk- each side will take from 7-10 minutes. Try not to burn the disks- ideally they will be golden brown and not blackened. If they seem to be getting too dark too quickly, turn down the heat. When they are golden brown on both sides, put them in the oven either in the cast iron skillet OR onto the heated surface you have already placed in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, turning if desired, or until the arepas sound hollow when you tap them.
While they are in the oven, you can make the perico scramble.
Place your arepas on a plate with your perico scramble and add some dashes of hot sauce to the scramble or on the side of the dish. Enjoy!