Thursday, February 20, 2014

Arepas Rellenas (AIP)

I like having easy portable foods. When I made the Chicken Pot Pie recipe from Mrs. Paleo the other day, it was a good reminder of nice it is to have an all-in-one, casserole-type dish. I've had empanadas on the brain for a while, but a lot of crusts are hard to find AIP-friendly. I'm on Day 50 and haven't  really had any reintroductions (except for a little safe chocolate last weekend), and while I've been debating starting with introductions, I've decided to finish out the month. Which makes empanadas a little bit of a challenge. So instead: Stuffed Arepas! Arepas are little flatbreads made from corn or yuca and served either filled or with a topping. Obviously, yuca was the way to go. And it fries up so well. The texture reminds me of hashbrowns from McDonald's of all places (except without the hydrogenated nasty oil and who knows what else). The outside is very crispy while the inside is somewhat potato-like. And the meat filling makes for a nice surprise.

Arepas Rellenas
1½-2 cups raw yuca (fresh or frozen), peeled and cut into 2-3 inch sections
Sea salt, to taste

½ lb ground beef
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp cilantro
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
Dash or two of cinnamon
3 tbsp coconut aminos
3 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (ACV)
2 tsp lime juice
¼-⅓ cup bone broth
Sea salt, to taste
Coconut oil, for frying

Boil the yuca with sea salt until very tender. This takes usually 45 minutes or longer. Strain and remove the tough, stringy fiber found in the middle of the root. Make sure to get all of it as it doesn't taste good nor is the texture very appealing. Mash the yuca root thoroughly, salting and tasting as you go. The texture should be similar to gooey or sticky mashed potatoes. Allow to cool until able to be handled comfortably. Meanwhile, start the filling.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat the ground beef, onion, carrot, and garlic. Add in herbs and spices. When meat is mostly browned, add in liquids and allow to simmer until meat is fully cooked and veggies are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat coconut oil in deep frying pan or cast iron skillet. Use enough oil to fill about ½-¾ inch. Make two patties with the mashed yuca about the size of your palm and not more than ¼ inch thick. Spoon about 1-2 tbsp of the filling into the middle of one patty. Sandwich the other patty over the filling and press the outside edges together. The yuca is pretty sticky, so smooth over any holes or lumps to make sure no filling falls out. Carefully place in hot oil and cook each side 5-7 minutes until crispy and golden brown.

Serve with guacamole if AIP or try salsa or curtido if you aren't sensitive to nightshades.