It is a well-known fact that I am a Colombian through and through. Not just in my sassiness and elegance (look who’s braggin’ now!), but in the way I cook and host! I’m all about gathering people around lots of food and drinks because that to me is happiness!
Colombia’s cuisine is quite simple but very much bold in flavors. With Colombia’s Caribbean, African, and even Latin American influences, Colombian food has become a melting pot of one of the best foods out there. We’re going beyond beans and rice, dear friend! We’re adding spices, locally grown ingredients, and most of all, lots of heart and soul poured forth into our cooking.
If you’re starting off, start with THIS divine recipe! Arepas and plátanos (aka plantains, tostinos, moletas… the list goes on!) are super easy to make, and unbelievablly delicious. And it’s pretty much gluten-free! Add the green salsa on top of the spicy-sweet pork stuffed in the arepas, and you’ll instantly taste heaven. Enjoy!
Colombian Arepas With Shredded Ancho Pork with Plátanos
- 2-4 lbs Pork Butt
- 3 Ancho Dry Chilies
- 6-8 cups Water
- 2 Onions, quartered
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Jalapeno, seeds removed
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 2 cups Maize Meal (Pan is the best brand) Found in the international sections of the grocery stores)
- 2-3 cups Wate
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- Mozarella cheese (optional)
- 1 bunch Cilantro
- ½ cup Parsley
- 4 sprigs Green Onions
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 1 Jalapeño
- 1 tbsp Vinegar (red or white)
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- Salt & Pepper
- Zest of a lemon
- 2-3 cups Vegetable Oil
- 2-3 Plantains, sliced 2 inch thick
- Kosher Salt
- Heat up a large dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of olive oil (or in an InstantPot). Make sure the pork has been removed from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes. While searing, prepare the veggies.
- Slice the ancho chilies in order to discard the seeds and top handle. Quarter the onions and tomatoes, and de-seed the jalapeno and give it a half-cut.
- Cover the pork with lukewarm water, about 6 to 8 cups. Add the ancho chilies, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeno. Cover and let it cook for 1 hour. While cooking, prepare the arepas and plátanos.
- After an hour, into a blender or Ninja, scoop the onions, ancho chilies, tomatoes, and jalapeno along with the 3 cups of the cooking water. Add 3 garlic cloves, salt and pepper, and mix.
- Pour the ancho mixture into the pot of pork along with an optional tablespoon of brown sugar. Cover and cook for another 2 hours under medium-low heat until the pork falls off the bone. It will be easy to shred. Check for seasoning.In an InstantPot, it will take 40-45 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add the maize flour (Pan is the BEST brand to use and can be found in any main supermarket), salt, and 2 cups of water. You made need more water, so if see it's not coming together, add a tablespoon of water at a time.
- Form a large bowl. Since maize is very dry, and depending on where you live, having extra water on hand is good. No need to overwork the dough.
- Create balls and roll them in your hand. Place the ball on a working area, and gently press them down with palm of your hand to form a disk. Depending on how big you want the arepas to be, make them large enough to hold a generous portion of the shredded pork.
- Heat over medium heat, cook a few arepas at a time. No need to add oil. The idea is to cook these slowly so if the heat is too high, the outside will burn while the inside will remain raw. Cook each side for at least 5 to 6 minutes until a little brown but mainly white. Keep them warm in a container with a lid or foil.
- Slice the plantains length-wise and slice them about 2 inches thick at an angle.
- In a large pan or pot, add about 2-3 cups of vegetable oil. Use one of the ends of the plantains as an oil tester after 5 minutes of heating. If it immediately starts to sizzle, then start adding the plantain pieces in carefully. Turn them over, and cook until slightly golden. Remove onto a paper towel lining.
- Using a bottle or a jar, gently smash the cooked plantains into a disk. I like them a little thick, but if you want them crispier, then make them thinner.
- Return the flattened plantain disks to the same oil to finish cooking, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and line them onto a paper towel for just a second to remove the excess oil.
- Place the newly cooked plantains into a bowl, and add a generous amount of salt!
Green Salsa (optional, but oh sooooo good!
- In a blender or Ninja, add the cilantro, parsley, 3 garlic cloves, jalapeno, green onions, a splash of vinegar, along with salt and pepper. Add ⅓ cup of olive oil and mix.
- Blend until resembles a pesto. Place in a jar along with one tablespoon of olive oil and the zest of one lemon. This is BUTTER!!!!
Assemble the Colombian Feast!
- Slice the arepas with a knife in order to open it up a bit. Avoid slicing completely. Add a generous amount of the shredded pork and some cheese. Add the plátanos along with avocado. Enjoy!