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Keshi Yena

Keshi Yená

Keshi Yená

Keshi Yená is a simple dish I picked up while I was living in Aruba. The filling of beef (or chicken) matched with the sweetness from the raisins, sour of the olives and capers and a little heat from the Habanero is a perfect match for the rich Gouda cheese. It also makes a great filling for Empanadas.

The island of Aruba remains part of the Dutch Kingdom, so the Dutch influence is prevalent in everything from architecture to cooking. Keshi Yená is a dish that was originally made by filling an empty shell of a scooped out Edam or Gouda cheese with a spiced chicken or beef mixture and baking it.

The Dutch are known to be frugal people and this was a way for them to use the hard outer rind of the cheese since it softens when it is baked. For this version of the dish, I line a buttered ramekin with the sliced Gouda cheese and fill it with the beef filling. In the photo above, I serve the Keshi Yená with a side of Caribbean flatbread known as “Roti”. For a “Gluten Free” dish, serve it with a salad of baby greens tossed with a Tropical Fruit Salad Dressing.


Ramekin 6-oz

These 6-ounce Porcelain Ramekins are the perfect size for this Keshi Yená recipe and many other items like soufflés and baked custards. There are also 3 other sizes available: 4-oz, 8-oz and 12-oz.

Keshi Yená

Recipe by Michael SalmonCourse: EntreeCuisine: CaribbeanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or chicken

  • 2 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped finely

  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped finely

  • 1/2 habanero chili, minced without seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon capers

  • 1/4 cup green olives, chopped

  • 1/4 cup raisins, chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 pound Gouda cheese, sliced thinly


  • Melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan. Sauté the ground beef until it is browned. Add the tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and habanero chili. Cook about 5 minutes, until it is almost dry. Remove from the heat and add in the remaining items, except for the cheese.
  • Brush four 6-ounce ovenproof ramekins with the remaining Tablespoon of butter. Line with slices of Gouda cheese, overlapping each other. Fill with the beef filling and cover with more slices of Gouda cheese.  
  • Boil about 1 quart of water in a teakettle or small sauce pot and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place the filled ramekins in a roasting pan with high sides and pour boiling water around in the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Invert onto a serving dish and serve with a salad of baby greens tossed with your choice of tropical fruit salad dressing.


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