Saturday, March 16, 2013

Arepa with Chorizo and Creole Sauce (Arepa con Chorizo y Hogao) and Green Beans with Almonds, Smoked Paprika and Cumin

Last weekend was the first weekend in some time that we visited the farmers' market behind the Museum of Natural History.  Every time we go to the farmers' market Brady drags us to his favorite vender, Roaming Acres, for a free snack (homemade ostrich dog treats) and a smoked ostrich tendon dog chew.  They look bizarre but he loves them and I would rather he eat ostrich tendon than cow penis (aka pizzles) or cow snout (aka moozles).  As luck would have it, they happened to be sold out of his smoked ostrich tendon but we decided to try some of their fresh sausages for us.  The farmer recommended their Colombian chorizo so we bought a package.  The only problem was that neither of us had ever tried Colombian chorizo (and the farmer had warned us that it had a very different flavor than Mexican or Spanish chorizo) so we had no idea what it tasted like or whether it would be crumbly and loose like Mexican chorizo or firm like Spanish chorizo.  We basically had no idea whatsoever what to do with our sausage after we got home.  So it hung out in the refrigerator for a few days until I was inspired enough to spend a few minutes poking around for recipes.  This one won because it sounded different and interesting, but was still pretty easy to throw together.  Then I had to decide what kind of side to serve with our arepas.  We haven't made green beans in awhile so I picked some up at the store with the idea that we would make a play on green bean almondine.  I decided that we would season our green beans simply with cumin, smoked paprika, garlic and lemon juice, all of which I thought would work with the flavor of the arepas.  And just like that, dinner was in the bag.

One thing I will say about these arepas - they were really easy to put together.  They required a number of pots, pans and trays (one each to cook the sausages, the hogao and the arepas themselves), but irrespective of the number of pans and dirty dishes, they came together with very little effort.  And they were satisfying.  I'm not saying they were the most delicious thing we have ever made, but I enjoyed them.  For those of you who are curious, Colombian chorizo is firm like Spanish chorizo but it lacks that paprika-flavor and is not smoked, cured or otherwise cooked.  Except that both products are raw/uncooked and I didn't think that it was similar to Mexican chorizo, which is much spicier and crumbly.  I liked our variation on the green beans too.  They had nice flavor and weren't hard to throw together.  And I think their crunch and bright flavor were a nice match for the heavier arepas.  The flavor of the green beans was just similar enough (thanks to the ground cumin) to work, while still providing a really interesting and bright pop of flavor.  The green beans added texture and were just substantial enough (I think salad would have felt too light).

Recipes after the jump!

Arepa with Chorizo and Creole Sauce (Arepa con Chorizo y Hogao)
Adapted from My Colombian Recipes

For hogao:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup scallions, white and green parts, chopped
2 cups tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

For arepas:
3 sweet corn arepas with mozzarella, cooked according to package instructions
1 cup hogao (see recipe below)
2 Colombian chorizos, cooked and sliced
handful of fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the tomatoes, scallions, garlic, ground cumin and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring until softened.  Reduce the heat to low, add the s&p, cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened. Check and season to taste with additional s&p (if necessary).

Place the arepas on a platter and top them with the hogao.

Add the chorizo slices on top of the hogao.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve.

Green Beans with Almonds, Smoked Paprika and Cumin

1/2 lb green beans, trimmed
2 tbsp evoo
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice (to taste)
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Blanch green beans in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 2-3 minutes.  Drain and shock green beans in an ice bath.

Heat evoo in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and almonds.  Saute, stirring regularly, until fragrant about 1-2 minutes.  Add cumin and paprika.  Stir to mix well.  Drain green beans and add them to the saute pan with 1/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper.  Toss green beans to coat evenly in oil.  Saute until heated through.  Remove from heat, add lemon juice, cilantro and parsley.  Toss and season to taste with additional s&p, as necessary.


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