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Chicken Salad Reina Pepeada

Photo: Avocados from Mexico

From: Chef Adriana Lopez Vermut, Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, San Francisco. Yield: 24 servings.

Arepa:
7 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
3 pints + 2 cups warm water (135°F)
3½ lb. masa harina

Chicken (yields 4 cups):
4 ½ lb. chicken breasts, boneless (if using bone-in, skin-on, add ¾ lb. to total weight)
2 limes, cut into squares
1 cup carrot, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, cut into squares
1 medium leek, cut into half lengthwise
1 cup cilantro sprigs, loosely packed
1 medium red bell pepper
1½ Tbsp. kosher salt

Dressing (yields 2¾ cups):
1½ cups mayonnaise
½ cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup hot saucemm
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
½ Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper

Salad:
4 cups chicken (see recipe above)
3 cups jicama, peeled and cut into julienne
3 cups peas
to taste, cilantro chopped fin
8 avocados, 4 cut into 3/8” dice; mash the remainder by hand until smooth

Arepa Pepeada:
1 arepa
½ cup salad

For arepas: In large bowl, combine shortening, salt and water, then slowly add flour. Mix quickly to avoid lumps. Cover dough with a moist towel and let rest for 10 minutes. Portion dough into 6-oz. balls, then flatten each to a patty about 4 ½” in diameter and ½” thick. The edges should be sloped down, not straight. To cook, preheat oven to 350°F. Sear each arepa on a preheated and oiled flat griddle until browned, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the arepa, when tapped, sounds hollow in the middle. Alternatively, the arepas can be finished on a clean, hot grill about 5  to 7 minutes on each side. Let rest to cool.

For chicken: Rub the chicken with lime juice, then rinse with cold water. Place chicken, carrot, onion, leek, cilantro and bell pepper in a large pot and add 1 gallon cold water. Cover and heat over medium heat, then adjust to bring water to a slow, steady boil. Cook until chicken is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Allow chicken to cool, and discard vegetables. Shred chicken by hand. Set aside, or keep refrigerated.

For dressing: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients until smooth.

For salad: Add salad ingredients to the dressing and gently mix to combine.

For arepa pepeada: For each serving, cut horizontally through the middle of the arepa, using a small, serrated knife and making sure the bottom is uncut (to keep the filling inside). Stuff arepa with the salad. It should look substantial and full.

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