Easy-to-make arepas (pan fried corn cakes) made with homemade cranberry goat cheese and your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers!
I don’t know about you but I’m definitely “team eat Thanksgiving leftovers as they are”. My leftover plate looks exactly as my dinner plate from the night before. With that said, however, I know a lot of you are looking for creative ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers. So here we are.
I present to you – AREPAS!
Arepas are best described as little corn cakes or corn patties made with cornmeal, water, and salt. The perfect vehicle for just about anything, honestly. Here, in Miami, there are several places that serve arepas of all kinds. Not to mention, my friends and I make them at home all the time. We then fill them up with chicken or cheese. You can even just add butter and that’s it.
Today, we’re getting Thanksgiving leftovers and stuffing (pun intended) them inside homemade arepas! Ha! Also, we’re making homemade cranberry goat cheese with leftover cranberry sauce. YUM. Let’s get this party started.
How To Make Cranberry Goat Cheese
First, bring the goat cheese log to almost room temperature. You don’t want it suuuper room temperature. You want just warm enough that the cranberries will stick.
In a bowl, mix together warm cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, cinnamon and honey. Exact measurements below. Pour the mixture onto a plate and roll the goat cheese log on top until all the cranberries stick to it. Since I’m majorly OCD, I made sure to cover all the gaps with more dried cranberries. Basically if there was a white spot, I added a cranberry. The log was more red than white lol. Chill the log until ready to serve.
How To Make Arepas
To make arepas is not as scary as it sounds. Trust me, I was intimidated at first. It’s not hard at all, just a little time consuming. But so worth it, I promise. The more you make them, the easier it gets.
In a bowl, add the cornmeal, water and salt and mix together.(This is the cornmeal I use and recommend.) Form into 8 balls and flatten them into 1-inch discs. The mixture should be sticky but not so sticky that it is sticking to your hands. If the dough is too wet, add a bit more cornmeal. If it’s too dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until wet enough to form discs.
Next, you pan fry the discs, in the skillet, at medium heat, with a little bit of vegetable oil. You don’t want them to be soaking in oil. In my skillet, I added 1 tablespoon for every 3 arepas. I made them in 3 batches: 3 first, then 3 next, and then the last 2.
Make sure the arepas cook for 5 minutes, undisturbed, on each side. The outside should be golden brown while the inside is slightly doughy. This is what you want. If you cook them for longer than 10 minutes total, you may run the risk of them being dry. Use your best judgement here.
Now you’re ready to put it all together!
To assemble the arepas, make sure the arepas are still warm but cool enough so that you don’t burn your fingers. Cut a small pocket in one of them and add your favorite Thanksgiving leftovers. I made these with a smear of the homemade cranberry goat cheese, leftover chipotle mashed sweet potatoes, and shredded leftover turkey breast (you can use the dark meat instead, if you want).
I cannot say more good things about this combo. IT’S DELICIOUS. Let me know what combo you end up doing for your arepas!
More Thanksgiving Recipes:
- Classic Sweet Potato Casserole
- 5-Ingredient Crispy Sliced Roasted Potatoes
- Caramelized Onion Pear & Walnut Stuffing
- Mini Sweet Corn Casseroles
- Vegan Roasted Cauliflower Gratin
- Cuban-Style Three Meat + Plantain Stuffing
- Chorizo Mac and Cheese with Cheesy Pork Rind Topping
- 5-Ingredient Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Bourbon Caramel Apple Galette
- Moist Carrot Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting
- Espresso Dark Chocolate Pecan Pie Galette
- Leftover Cranberry + Turkey Turnovers (Thanksgiving Pastelitos!)
CRANBERRY GOAT CHEESE
- 1/4 cup warm leftover cranberry sauce
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, , chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 log goat cheese, , 8 ounces, slightly room temperature
- 2 cups precooked cornmeal, (I used P.A.N.)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 cups warm water
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Leftover turkey, shredded
- Optional toppings, leftover cranberry sauce, leftover stuffing, leftover mashed potatoes, leftover sweet potato casserole, leftover corn casserole (crumbled)
- In a bowl, mix together cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and honey. Transfer mixture to a plate. Place goat cheese log on top of the mixture and roll, pressing gently to coat. Fill in any gaps in the goat cheese log with extra dried cranberries. Chill until ready to serve.
- In a bowl, add the cornmeal, salt, and water and mix until well combined. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes.
- Using your hands, form 8 balls of dough. Flatten each ball until each is 1-inch thick. You may have to wet your hands a bit to work the dough.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add 3-4 arepas at a time. Pan fry for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Repeat with remaining oil until all the arepas are cooked. Transfer arepas to a paper towel lined plate to drain. (The outside of the arepa will be golden brown while the inside is slightly doughy. This is what you want. If you were to fry it longer, it may dry out.)
- Once they are cool enough to handle, cut a 4-inch pocket on the side of the arepa (don’t cut them in half). Spread cranberry goat cheese. Add leftover turkey and other leftovers as desired. Enjoy!