The Queen's Chicken Salad
...or as I know it best, Reina Pepiada. This traditional Venezuelan dish consists of an avocado chicken salad stuffed inside of a crispy arepa. Rich, creamy, and so very healthy! The salad is also perfect between whole grain bread.
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 oz)
1 cup diced avocado (about 1/2 avocado)
salt + pepper
arepas (recipe follows)
1. Bring a pot of water to boil. Trim off any excess fat from the chicken and cut it into thick strips. Add salt to the water, then the chicken, and boil until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a strainer to cool.
2. Place the diced avocado in a large bowl, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork and set aside.
3. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, break it apart with your hands. You can also do this with two forks. Add the chicken to the avocado and mix until well combined. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve inside of the arepa (recipe follows), or inside of a whole wheat pita, a wrap, or between whole grain sandwich bread.
makes 2 large or 4 small arepas
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp pre-cooked white cornmeal (P.A.N.)
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp canola or olive oil
1/2 tbsp butter or butter substitute
(I Can't Believe It's Not Butter)
1. Add the water, salt and olive/canola oil to a large bowl and stir. Slowly add the cornmeal, little by little, mixing it in with your hands to break up any clumps. Once all of the cornmeal is incorporated into the water, let it sit for a couple of minutes to set. The masa should be firm enough to mold, but soft enough to manipulate with your hands.
2. Take a handful of dough, just smaller than the palm of your hand, and roll it between your palms to make a round ball. Flatten, turning it around to form an even patty, and lay it on a plate. Repeat until you are out of masa.
3. Preheat a large pan to medium. Add the butter to the pan and spread with a napkin. Place the arepas in the pan. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Flip and cook the other side, another 8 to 10 minutes. If you are making a large batch, keep them warm in a 20o-degree oven. Serve.
- For breakfast, consider the arepa a Venezuelan English muffin: cut it open and stuff with ham, Canadian bacon, queso blanco, Eggscellent Eggs, scrambled eggs -- you name it!