Aruban cuisine draws from the delicacies of countries around the world, including the Netherlands, South America, Europe, the Caribbean, and even from the native people of their own island.
Aruba’s national dish is Filled Cheese Shells or Keshi Yena. Get the taste in your own kitchen with this recipe.
4 medium diced onions
1 large clove garlic
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 tbs. parsley, ripped
A few drops Tabasco sauce
2 tbs. ketchup
1/4 cup pimento olives, sliced
1 tbs. capers
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbs. Piccalilli pickle
3 egg yolks
salt and pepper to season
1 large Gouda or Edam cheese shell, with the majority of the cheese scooped out and the wax removed
(soak the shell in hot water and the wax should peel away)
1 lb minced beef or cooked chicken meat.
1 tbs. salted butter
2 tbs. olive oil
3 large tomatoes, peeled and diced (pour boiling water over the tomatoes and leave them to stand for one minute. When the skins split, they will be easy to remove)
Sautée the onions and garlic in the oil and butter over a low heat until the onions become translucent. Do not allow the garlic to burn.
Add the meat and allow to brown.
Add the pepper, tomato, parsley and Tabasco, season to taste.
Add and stir in well the ketchup, pimento olives, capers, raisins and Piccalilli and allow to cook over a low heat until the tomatoes have reduced (about 20 minutes).
Stir in the egg yolks, reserving about 6 tbs. Allow mixture to cool and preheat oven to 350°.
Generously butter the bottom of a heat proof casserole and place the cheese shell in. Spoon in 3 tbs of the egg yolk and then add the meat mixture. Cover the top of the whole cheese with the original top or a few slices of cheese, brushing over the remaining egg yolks to seal.
Set the casserole in a pan of hot water and allow to bake in the oven for 1 1/4 hours.
Note: When serving do not allow the cheese to cool as the rind will become hard and unappetizing again.