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Aruban Keshi Yena

Aruban Keshi Yena

Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, also known as the ABC islands, are Dutch isles in the north of Venezuela. Keshi Yena is very popular in Aruba and Curaçao. It's said that slaves invented this dish. They filled the shell of a large Edam or Gouda cheese with whatever leftovers they could find.
If you are not a cheese fan, you can use less or no cheese. The filling is also delicious as a sauce with or without tomatoes for pasta or pizza.
 
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Caribbean
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb ground meat*)
  • 2 cups diced tomatoes from a can
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 18-24 oz cheese**) sliced
  • 4-6 cups cooked rice
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • oil butter, salt

Keshi Yena Culinary Spice Kit

  • Black peppercorn, garlic, onion, chili pepper, oregano, sage

Recommended

  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1/4 cup green olives sliced
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped

Instructions
 

  • (1) In a PAN, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat.
  • Add onions, garlic, bell pepper, meat, Keshi Yena spices, and salt to taste.
  • Stir-fry until the meat is crumbled and cooked.
  • (2) Add tomatoes and your choice of the recommended ingredients.
  • Add salt to taste. Mix well.
  • Cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally. Set aside.
  • (3) Preheat the OVEN to 350°F.
  • (4) Grease a non-sticking BAKING DISH or 3-4 BAKING BOWLS with butter.
  • Line the bottom and sides of the BAKING DISH completely with overlapping cheese slices.
  • (5) In a BOWL, whisk the eggs.
  • Stir them into the sauce and pour all into the BAKING DISH.
  • Cover completely with cheese slices.
  • (6) Bake in the OVEN until the cheese is soft and golden brown.
  • Serve keshi yena with rice.
  • Optionally, add a fresh salad.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Substitute ground meat with shredded or chopped cooked meat, or (partly) with vegetables, for instance, mushrooms, green beans, or eggplants.
*) Chicken and beef are popular. Veal or pork work as well.
**) Edam, Gouda, Cheddar, or your preferred cheese.
Keyword garlic, onion, oregano, sage