Arepas Andinas without Pisca: un-wastefully-delicious-leftovers-soup tweak
In the Venezuelan Andes, arepas, a traditional corn-dough-bread in the rest of the country, are made with wheat flour. Arepas Andinas are good to eat at any time and when it is cold accompanied with an un-wastefully-delicious-leftovers-soup, as I have done for this post, will warm your heart from the inside out.
In Los Andes Venezolanos, (Venezuelan Andes) there is a traditional soup called Pisca Andina, ate primordially for breakfast, but also for lunch or dinner. Pisca Andina is made with chicken broth, potatoes, green onions, milk, coriander leaves, and smoked Andean white cheese. This delectable local cheese is a bit out of reach when you are not in Venezuela, where the flavour of the Andes mountain pastures, as those of other regions in the world, belongs to its own.
In lieu of the real and pretty much irreplaceable flavour of Venezuelan white cheeses, in all their forms; Guayanes, Telita, de Mano, Paisa, de Año and smoked for example, I decided to follow the base tradition with a bit of tweak and made a simple soup with leftovers. Ate with an Arepa Andina, the absence of the fabulous white smoked cheese of the Andes can go unnoticed, or at least I like to believe so.
2 cups Wheat Flour (White or Whole)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Baking powder
100 g Butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup lukewarm water (or more as needed)
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until they look like loose powdery flakes. Add the water and knead until a smooth ball is formed. If needed add more water or flour to attain a smooth dough texture, that when pressed with a fingertip bounces back to shape. Cover with a t-towel and let rest in a warm place, out of drafts, for about 15 minutes. Five minutes before the rest time is up, warm up a heavy cast iron pan or a griddle to 3 or warm to low flame. Cut the dough into three or four pieces and make each piece into a flat round, about 1 1/2 cm thick. Wipe the pan’s warm surface with an oil dampened paper and lay the arepas on it. Rotate them as soon as they are not sticking and flip them over only when they are browned. Repeat on the other side.
4 large potatoes diced
1 L Chicken Broth
4-8 Garlic cloves chopped (amount to taste)
150 g Green Onions, white and green parts chopped
50 g Butter
100 g Coriander, leaves only, chopped and/or whole
1 cup of Milk
150 g Smoked Andes White Cheese, diced
1 egg per person (optional)
Salt and fresh cracked Pepper to taste
Cook the potatoes in the chicken broth until tender. In the meantime, in a separate pan sauté the green onions with the butter until translucent. Once ready, add the sautéed green onions to the broth and potatoes and cook at a simmer for 5-8 minutes. Add in the salt and pepper, the cheese and the milk and stir around at low heat heat until the cheese starts to melt. (next step optional) At this point, without stirring, gently crack the eggs onto the surface of the soup to poach for 4-6 minutes, depending on how well done or fluid you prefer them. Lastly, add the coriander leaves before serving.
Eat with Arepas Andinas. Another delicious option is to add diced avocado to the soup before eating as a dressing, or, my favourite is to mash the avocado onto a cut open arepa, as if it were butter.
This is what I had:
A leftover baked leg of turkey, bone in, meat removed and thinly sliced
Leftover orange sauce where the turkey was cooked
Leftover glazed shallots
5 carrots, diced
10 pimiento piquillo (red small sweet peppers) sliced and seeded
8 garlic cloves, whole and lightly crushed
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Slowly warm the olive oil in a pan and sauté the fresh ingredients; sliced pepper, diced carrots, slightly crushed whole garlic cloves and the bone from the turkey, until browned. Add the thin sliced turkey meat, the glazed shallots, the orange sauce from the turkey and add 1 L of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook the concoction for 60-90 minutes. Serve with the Arepas Andinas!
A meal of delicious left over bits and bobs can save your appetite and is a good reason to not waste but taste a wealth of flavours.