This is one of my favourite arepa fillings: arepa Pelúa, which is a sandwich piled high with juicy, tender pulled beef and filled with heaps of cheddar cheese.  


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  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ tbsp (30 ml) white vinegar
  • 1 onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 500 g beef brisket
  • 3 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red capsicum (pepper), chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 small can diced tomatoes (or about a cup)
  • 6 arepas, warmed (see Note, or use Juan Pablo's recipe)
  • 260 g (9 oz) cheddar, grated
  • Mixed micro greens to garnish, optional

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. In a mixing bowl, whisk garlic, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, half of the onion, and half of the olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer beef brisket to a re-sealable bag and add marinade. Seal bag and massage marinade into the meat. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

2. Once beef has been marinated, heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add remaining onion, fresh tomato and capsicum, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until onions start to soften. Stir in cumin and continue cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Transfer marinated beef and marinade to the pan along with the canned tomatoes. Cook beef on first side for 4-5 minutes. Flip and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes.

4. Once the steak is cooked to your liking, remove the beef from the pan and set it aside to rest for about 10 minutes. 

5. Season sauce with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

6. Slice beef thinly and divide between the arepas. Top with 2-3 tablespoons of sauce and some cheese. Serve hot.



• Arepas are a round cornbread. You can buy them frozen from some specialist retailers, or make them using  Juan Pablo's recipe. They are usually gluten-free. (Use gluten-free stock and gluten-free arepas to make this recipe gluten-free.)