CUISINE: Keshi yena (stuffed cheese)

Keshi yena (stuffed cheese) is a favorite of the local Curacao people.

Keshi Yena (pronounced kay-shee YAY-na). Keshi yena, in English means “stuffed cheese. This dish is traditionally made with chicken, vegetables, seasonings and raisins.

This dish could even be called the national dish. Keshi Yena (Stuffed Cheese) serves at least 10 to 12 people.

Recipe

KeshiYená (Stuffed Cheese)

Ingredients

  • 2 sliced onions
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 small Edam cheese (2 to 2 1/2 lbs)
  • 2 lbs. shredded cooked chicken
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped and peeled
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1/4 minced hot pepper (or hot sauce to taste)
  • 1/2 cup raisins and chopped prunes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 5 eggs

Slice the top off the cheese and reserve. Gently scoop out the inside, leaving a 1/4 to 1/2 inch shell. The cheese should resemble a hollowed out pumpkin. Sauté the remaining ingredients, except the eggs, in the butter; simmer for about 20 minutes. Beat 4 eggs and stir into the mixture. Spoon it into the cheese shell, replace the top and spread remaining beaten egg on top to seal.

Grease a shallow baking dish and fill it with about 1 inch of water; set the cheese in the dish and bake at 350° F for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The cheese will expand and flatten slightly but will keep its basic shape. Serve piping hot, cut into wedges.

Leftovers are good reheated.

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