An easy to follow recipe for delicious Venezuelan arepas with chicken and avocado.
Start by preparing the filling. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 35 minutes and remove. Allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones. Shred the chicken meat using your fingers or two forks. Place in a medium bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Add the mayonnaise, scallions, avocado and peas, if using, to the chicken and combine well. Add salt and pepper to adjust seasonings. Return the filling the refrigerator while you prepare the arepas.
To make the arepas, stir together 2 ½ cups of water and salt to combine. Gradually add 2 cups of cornmeal. Mix the ingredients together with your hands, using your fingers to dissolve any lumps. Continue mixing until completely smooth. Add the oil and continue mixing with your hands. You are looking for the dough to be smooth and soft enough so that it does not crack when molded.
Divide the dough into 8 equal parts, and roll first into a ball, then flatten into a 1-inch thick disc, about 5 inches in diameter.
Place the discs on a pre-heated, greased griddle or large sauté pan, and cook about 5 minutes until the side you’re cooking has golden-brown splotches. Turn over and brown the other side for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from griddle and set aside.
To assemble the sandwich, use a sharp knife to create a pocket down the middle of the arepa. Split open but don’t cut in half entirely. Use your knife to remove a little mixture from the middle, if desired, to make room for more filling. Spoon the chicken mixture into the pocket and serve.