The Stuffed Cheese from Yucatan (Queso Relleno)

The popular mexican legend about this dish says that, a long time ago, a Dutch ship bound for the Dutch Caribbean Islands ran ashore on the Yucatan coast because of a bad storm; in the wrecked ship, one of the typical products from Netherlands was found: Edam Cheese Balls. The origin of Edam cheese is indisputable: it can be traced back to the Netherlands, a long time before the discovery of America.

This ball shaped cheese, flat one one side, covered in red wax with a hard shell and a creamy solid center with small holes delighted the typical mexican appetite for strong tastes with the strong aroma of this cheese. Due to the hot Mexican climate and the absence of refrigerators, consumption of that cheese was limited pretty much to the Yucatecan ports where the cheese would land. By the 1950's some Yucatan folks had migrated to other regions of Mexico, bringing with them the tradition of loving this delicious Dutch cheese; the Edam cheese became a commercial success in Mexico that lasted over half a century. recipe-kitchen-cheese-ball The Dutch Edam cheese or "Edammer Kaas" ball of cheese can weigh from two pounds and a half all the way to four pounds; this cheese is made with cow's milk, and aged for about two months; it usually has 28 percent of fat. In many latin countries there are different versions of this stuffed cheese recipe that exist into which the ingredients used will vary slightly.

Recipe for Stuffed Cheese:

Ingredients for 6 guests:

* 1 4 lb. whole ball, Edam Dutch cheese
* 2 lb. ground pork meat
* 1 lb. red tomatoes
* 1 lb. onions
* 1 cup flour
* 2 eggs
* 6 hard-boiled eggs
* 3 cloves garlic
* 2 fresno peppers
* 1 red bell pepper
* 1 clove
* Oil
* 1/4 cup Olives
* 1/4 cup Capers
* Saffron
* Green chiles
* Oregano
* 5 tablespoons Raisins
* Butter
* Salt and Pepper, to taste

* 1 liter of the broth into which the meat was cooked
* 100 grams of lard,
* ½ cup flour
* chicken bouillon powder to taste.

For the red salsa:
* 1 tablespoon lard
* 1 medium onion,
* l bell pepper and 1 clove garlic, minced
* 8 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
* 1 tablespoon capers
* 2 tablespoons pitted and chopped olives
* salt and pepper to taste.


1. To prepare the stuffed cheese, first cut off the top of the cheese ball about 1 inch thick and keep the cut piece aside as we will use it as a lid. Remove the wax from the outside of the ball. Hollow out the cheese from the inside of the ball, leave a thickness of about 3/4 inch of outside shell (do not make the cover or outside wall too thin so it does not become too fragile).

2. Cook the meat with a pinch of salt and a bit of water, reserving the broth resulting from cooking the meat. Peel the hard boiled eggs and separate the yolks from the whites.

3. Prepare the spices for this dish or "recado": grind some pepper, garlic, oregano, cloves and saffron. Grind the meat, add chopped egg whites, fry the meat with a little of the prepared recado, add raisins, olives, capers to taste and 1/2 lb. of cheese that was scooped from the cheese shell.

4. Remove meat from heat, mix in the two raw eggs and allow to cool. Fill the empty cheese shell with this stew and add the cooked yolks. Place the top of the ball of cheese with a little flour on the sides. Wrap the ball with a cheesecloth and put it on a rack in a steamer, with enough water at the bottom. Steam for 40 minutes, or until the sides of the cheese start to melt. Remove from the steamer, allow to cool and remove the cheesecloth.

Making the Red sauce:

5. Roast the chiles and chop, also the tomatoes and onions, fry in butter. Add the pork meat broth we had reserved earlier with a little bit of the recado that we prepared, boil until the peppers are cooked. Add capers, olives and raisins to taste, dissolve some flour and add the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until the red sauce starts to boil; simmer for 15 minutes.

-- Place the cheese on a stylish serving platter, then pour the tomato sauce over, at the moment when you are ready to serve. To serve, cut the cheese into wedges;

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