National Dish of Aruba – Keshi Yena
Ingredients for Preparing Keshi Yena
|cooked, shredded chicken||1 lb.|
|canned tomatoes (peeled and chopped)||2|
|tomato paste||2 tsp.|
|sliced green olives||2 tbsp.|
|whole capers||1 ½ tsp.|
|parsley (chopped)||1 ½ tsp.|
|habanero chili pepper (minced)||1 tsp.|
|vegetable oil||2 tbsp.|
|onion (sliced)||1 cup|
|1 whole||2 lbs. Edam cheese (or shredded)|
|garlic (minced)||1 tsp.|
|bell pepper (diced)||1/3 cup|
|Worcestershire sauce||1 tsp.|
|Salt and pepper|
Keshi Yena (Stuffed Cheese) is a popular main course cheese dish cooked in Aruba. Keshi Yena may have originated from the slaves of the Dutch West Indies who stuffed discarded Edam and Gouda cheese rinds with table scraps to make a meal. Modern recipes use sliced cheese on the base and top of the chicken filling.
Directions for Preparing Keshi Yena
- Place the whole Edam cheese on a board and use a sharp knife to slice it into ¼-inch slices.
- Line the base of a square 11-inch baking tray with 2/3 of the cheese slices.
- Start cooking the chicken filling by heating the oil in a skillet
- add the onions, garlic, bell pepper, and habanero chili. Sauté in the oil for about six minutes or until soft.
- Add the olives, tomato paste, chopped canned tomatoes, parsley, olives, and capers.
- Stir in the ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix in the shredded chicken.
- Place the lid on the skillet and cook for about twenty minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent it from burning. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the chicken filling is cooked, allow it to cool. Whisk two eggs in a separate bowl and pour this onto the filling and stir well.
- Spoon the filling onto the cheese slices in the baking tray. Spread it evenly. Arrange the remaining slices of Edam to cover the chicken filling.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for forty minutes or until the melted cheese top is golden brown.
Serve hot with tortillas or toasted French bread.
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