For the past few years, we've spent the week between Christmas and New Years at beautiful country house in Pennsylvania owned by very dear friends of ours. Whenever we're here, we get inspired to cook up some new dish. This year, I found a recipe for arepas with pulled pork and cheese in the Food & Wine magazine that our friends subscribe to. I looked in a few places here in the country for one of the arepas ingredients: masa harina, but couldn't find it. I thought I could substitute corn meal, but it didn't work. We adapted the recipe and instead made little corn cakes with pulled pork in the center. We served is as part of our little New Year's Day spread for a few friends who stopped by. They were delicious topped with sour cream, pickled cabbage, sliced jalapeno and chopped cilantro. We bought the pork from a local German place up here that sources their meat locally and does all their own butchering called the Alpine House.
Corn Fritters with Pulled Pork and Cheddar Cheese
For the fritters:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. cornmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg, beaten
For the pulled pork filling:
1 nice-sized pork butt
2 stalks of celery
1 medium onion
2 bottles of dark (or dark-ish) beer
a few cups of chicken or veggie stock
salt and pepper
1 cup of cheddar cheese
For the sides:
1 small head of red cabbage
1 medium red onion
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 bunch cilantro
1 jar of sliced jalapenos
1 cup sour cream
You can make your pulled pork in a slow cooker by placing all of the ingredients (browned pork butt, sliced onion, carrot and celery, 2 bottles of beer, salt & pepper, and enough broth to fully immerse the pork butt) in the cooker and leave on high for about 8 hours. We cooked ours in a heavy ceramic soup pot on low on the stove all day. It fills the house with a nice aroma. When the pork is very tender, remove from the liquid and let cool for a bit. Shred the pork to your liking. Place in a bowl as much of the pulled pork you need for your fritters (1 1/2 cup) and freeze the rest for pork tacos some other night. To the shredded pork that you've set aside, add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and hot sauce. Mix together.
While your pork is cooking, make the cabbage by finely shredding the red cabbage and onion, placing it in a bowl and covering with the red wine vinegar. Set aside to marinate.
To make your fritters, mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add milk and beaten egg. Stir until moistened. Set aside for a few hours.
To assemble the fritters, drop a heaping tablespoon of the batter into smoking oil in a frying pan. When the batter begins to solidify, drop a ball of the pork-cheese mixture in the center, and top with another tablespoon of the batter. When the "pancake" has some integrity, flip to the other side and fry until golden. Drain on a paper towel.
You can pop a dozen in the oven to keep warm until your guests come. Serve each fritter with a dollop of cream cheese, a pinch of red cabbage, a few sliced jalapenos, and a sprinkling of cilantro leaves.