This recipe came about because of a food truck turned tiny restaurant in Minneapolis—Hola Arepa. When we go out to dinner, it’s the only place I ever want to go. Kev likes a little more variety in his life. But I’m a minimalist. So I go on repeat with Steph and Lindsay because they feel the same way. I order an El Diablo cocktail followed by the Shredded Beef and Plantain Arepa. Every single time.
This post was created in an ongoing partnership with Muir Glen Organic. Muir Glen harvests organic tomatoes at the peak of ripeness. Tomatoes go from field to can in 8 hours or less. When I shop for canned tomatoes, I stock my pantry with Muir Glen. Of course, all opinions/endorsements are my own.
You may remember this Chimichurri Aioli that was created after a visit to Hola Arepa. In that post, I crossed my heart and promised to work on the remainder of the arepa components. Meanwhile, Lindsay posted the actual arepa recipe—the backpack to hold all the spicy, sweet, and sour things together. With all the recipes now complete, you can have Slow Cooked Beef and Plantain Arepas where ever you are. (Should you find yourself in Minneapolis, you have to go to Hola and invite me. Here’s a couple of other places you should also go.)
There’s only a handful of dishes that I’ll buy a slab of high-quality meat to slow cook. And arepas are one of those recipes. We’re not vegetarians, but we eat a mostly plant-based diet these days. I’ve yet to find an excellent alternative for this composition of flavors and textures, so I’m sticking with a quality slab of chuck until that day. Because beans are too soft here and tofu brings out my texture issues. Maybe jackfruit could work? I’ll report back.
The beef is slow cooked in a paste made from Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes. It’s not far off from an enchilada sauce. The tomatoes lend both flavor and acidity to naturally tenderize the meat. Don’t skip the fried plantains. But if you have to, bake rounds of sweet potato instead. The tiny hits of sweetness bring this flavor composition all together. So that you’re not running all over town, you can buy all the ingredients at your local Whole Foods Market—like Muir Glen organic fire-roasted tomatoes, plantains, and cotija. To be safe, order the arepa flour ahead of time from Amazon. To a meal worth all the forethought—I raise my single serving margarita to you.
- Chimichurri Aioli
- Recipe from the archives
- Quick-Pickled Red Onions
- Recipe from the archives
- Slow Cooked Beef
- 2 lbs. chuck or brisket
- 1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- 2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for searing
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- handful of cilantro, washed and stemmed
- 1/4 sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp. neutral oil
- Recipe from Pinch of Yum
- Fried Plantains
- 2 ripe plantains
- neutral oil
- kosher salt
- Sliced avocado
- Up to a day or two in advance, make the chimichurri aioli and the quick-pickled red onions. Store covered in the fridge.
- The morning before serving, prepare the beef. In a high-powered blender or food processor, add in the tomatoes, salt, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, cilantro, onion, and garlic. Blend until smooth. Mixture will taste noticeably salty. Set aside.
- In a skillet or appropriate slow-cooker vessel, add the oil. Heat on medium-high. To one side of the beef, sprinkle liberally with kosher salt. Once oil jumps at a tiny flick of water, place the beef into the pan, salt side down. Sprinkle the side up with salt. Once the meat has a lightly golden thin crust, flip and cook the other side (about 3 minutes on each side). Remove from heat and place meat and remaining oil into the slow cooker. Pour in the tomato paste and thin with a little water if needed to spread the basin of the vessel. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Shred before serving, pouring a couple generous spoonfuls of the liquid over the meat.
- One hour before serving, begin making the Lindsay's arepas. While arepa mixture rests, heat a cast iron skillet with oil on medium heat. (We're going to borrow the oil used for the arepas for the plantains.) Prepare the plantains. Peel and make long diagonal cuts, about 3/8" in width (see image above). Place the plantains into the oil and cook until golden, flip, and cook the other side (about 3 minutes per side). Meanwhile shape the arepas as instructed. When the plantains are finished cooking, remove onto a paper towel to soak any extra grease. Lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Set aside. Cook arepas in the same oil as instructed.
- To serve, cut arepas in half. Top with shredded beef, plantains, pickled red onion, chimichurri aioli, avocado, and cotija.
• Hola Arepa serves all their arepas with a side of yucca fries. I'm bookmarking this recipe to try.