Have I got a fun and interesting recipe for you guys today – Chicken Filled Arepas, a Latin American specialty combined with the technology and speed of the Instant Pot!
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party where each course is held at a different home. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. This month’s theme is Latin American flavors hosted by Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories. We have a wide array of recipes to whet your appetite from cocktails to dessert. Make sure you check out the links below the recipe.
I love cooking in my Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker) because I can drop the ingredients in and walk away, giving me time to prepare the rest of the meal while the machine does its magic! Either that or sit and put my feet up for a few minutes, ha ha ha.
Cooking the Chicken
When the meat is braised/steamed in a pressure cooker it breaks down the connective tissue and leaves even the toughest cuts fork-tender. The chicken shredded easily with two forks and made dinner making a breeze.
I cooked bone-in thighs that were partially frozen, so I cooked them a little longer than the recipe calls for, about 12 minutes with a 6 minute NPR then QR the remaining steam. If you are in doubt remember you can add more time if needed and always check the internal temperature (without touching a bone) and be sure it has reached at least 165°F.
Once you’ve shredded the chicken, you can put it back in the inner pot and keep it warm in the cooking liquid (remove the trivet first). Then make the Arepas and when you are ready to serve, drain the chicken, toss it with the salsa (if using), and stuff the split Arepas!
Making the Arepas
This was the first time I tried making Arepas – I’ve only had them in restaurants up to now. I ordered the P.A.N. precooked white corn meal from Amazon and was ready to go.
The dough is fascinating, slightly similar to gluten-free bread dough but not as sticky. And don’t be afraid to get your hands in the dough – it is fun to play with. Your kids would love it!
I placed the formed balls on a sheet of parchment paper which released them pretty easily when I was ready to form the patties. You can also have a skillet or two ready to go and place the balls in the skillet and carefully pat them into disks. Be sure to leave room between them for better browning and easier flipping.
You are supposed to make the patties thick enough to be able to split them in half (they won’t puff up), but I patted mine too thin. So I used two whole ones for each serving – punting sometimes works LOL. Make yours about 1-inch thick and you should be OK.
I hope you give these delicious and fun Chicken Filled Arepas a try. I always have fun discovering something new that everyone loves!
This recipe is naturally gluten-free! Be sure to check the labels of any ingredients you use, especially the salsa, to be sure you and your family are safe.
Instant Pot Chicken Filled Arepas (Gluten-Free)
Techniques adapted from Nom Nom Paleo and Serious Eats
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (not frozen)
1/2 cup homemade or store-bought salsa, optional
2 cups masarepa (specialty Arepa flour such as P.A.N. Harina Blanca)
Zest of 1 lime
2-3/4 cups warm water
1 tsp salt, or to taste
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Crumbled queso fresco, cotija, or ricotta salata
Chopped green onions
Preheat the oven to 325°F.
Cook the Chicken: Place a trivet in the bottom of the inner pot of your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and add 1 cup water.
In a small bowl combine all the seasonings. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken pieces with the seasoning mixture. Place the chicken in a single layer on the trivet.
Lock the lid on the pot, press Manual and cook on high pressure 7 minutes for breasts and 10 minutes for thighs. Do a 4 minute natural release then quick release the remaining pressure. When the pin drops, carefully open the lid test the internal temperature and be sure it is at least 165°F on an instant read thermometer. If not, return to the pot and replace the lid. Let the chicken finish in the heat of the pot.
Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Use two forks to shred the chicken. If using the salsa, pour it over the chicken and toss to evenly coat everything. If not using the salsa, return the shredded chicken to the cooking juices in the pot until ready to serve. Cover and keep warm.
Make the Arepas: Stir together the masarepa with the warm water, lime zest, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to fully absorb the water.
Set your large nonstick skillet(s) or griddle on the stove and melt the butter and oil together over medium-low heat.
Working with wet hands, fold the edges of the dough over on itself, working your way around the bowl, patting back into a flat top before each fold. It will take about 3 minutes to get everything properly mixed. Be sure you don’t have any dry pockets of the masarepa and the whole mixture is the same texture. Re-wet your hands as needed. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, roll into balls and flatten slightly in your palm to about 1-inch thick. They will be very soft, pancake-like patties.
Add the Arepas to the pan(s) and cook on the first side until golden brown, about 5 to 8 minutes. Increase the heat if needed. Then flip and brown the second side, another 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the Arepas to a baking sheet and bake in the oven until cooked through, about 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
To Serve: When cool enough to handle, split each one in half horizontally and fill with the chicken. Add garnishes as desired and serve immediately.
This recipe is part of our monthly progressive dinner party, Progressive Eats. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
Flavors of Latin America!
- The Caipirinha – Brazil’s Signature Cocktail – Creative Culinary
- Chimichuri Chicken Bites – The Wicked Noodle
- Yukka Empanadas with Jalapeño Cilantro Salsa – SpiceRoots
- Pan Blanco Cuencano – Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Instant Pot Chicken Filled Arepas (gluten free) – The Heritage Cook
- Patatas Bravas Chilenos (Chile Potatoes) – From a Chef’s Kitchen
- Easy Colombian Patacones or Green Plantains – Mother Would Know
- Tres Leches Cake – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Create a New Tradition Today!