Cornmeal Chow Arepas with Ham and Pineapple-Jicama Slaw-MainPhoto

Cornmeal Chow Arepas with Ham and Pineapple-Jicama Slaw-MainPhoto

UPDATED November 1st, 2017

Summer is in full swing and the warm weather is perfect for outdoor parties and family get-togethers. And of course that means food! An Arepa (cornmeal cake) is the perfect solution for entertaining at home. If you are looking for a new dish to make, Ingrid Hoffman’s Ham & Slaw Arepas are guaranteed to impress your guests.

Chef Ingrid Hoffmann is a host of Telemundo’s Top Chef Estrellas, best selling cookbook author, and a professional eater. Hoffman says, I always keep my fridge stocked with my go-to staples in case of an impromptu gathering or if friends show up unexpectedly. One thing I always have on-hand is Smithfield Anytime Favorites Ham. Not only do they come pre-sliced, diced and in the perfect portions making them very convenient for any host, but they’re also flavorful and easy to incorporate into an array of dish ideas, like my arepa recipe.”

Read Related: 10 Ways to Eat an Arepa that Will Stop You in Your Tracks

Makes: 6 arepas
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.

For the Arepas:
2 cups precooked white cornmeal (such as Harina P.A.N. or Masarepa)
2 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. corn oil
6 slices, Smithfield Anytime Favorites Hickory Smoked Boneless Ham (sliced)
¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

For the Slaw:
1 cup jicama (about 1 small)
½  cup fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ cup green bell pepper, diced
¼ cup red bell pepper, diced
¼ cup red onion, diced
¼ cup fresh pineapple, small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Arepas:
1. In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, water and salt.  Mix with hands until dough is smooth, malleable and unsticks from hands.
2. With moist hands, form 6, 2-inch balls. Press each ball down between the palms of your hands to form 6 patties approximately ½-inch thick and 4 ½-inches in diameter.
3. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches of two, cook arepas until golden brown; about 6 minutes per side. Place in a paper towel-lined plate until cool enough to handle.
4. Slice ham slices in 1-inch strips. Return to the pan used to cook arepas on medium heat and sauté ham slices for 2 minutes, turning them rapidly to evenly cook both sides.

For the Slaw:
1. Peel the jicama using a vegetable peeler and discard the peel. Grate the jicama using the largest holes on a box grater.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the grated jicama, cilantro, bell peppers, onion, pineapple and garlic.
3. Stir in the mayonnaise and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with lime juice and stir to combine.
4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To Serve:
With a serrated knife, slice each arepa, forming a pita-like pocket. Fill with 5-6 ham strips, 2 tablespoons cheese and ½ cup pineapple-jicama slaw. Serve immediately.

Recipe created by Chef Ingrid Hoffmann. Photo courtesy Smithfield.