The favorite Yucatecan’s dish
that still remains unknown to travelers
The Yucatecan Queso Relleno, like many dishes in Mexico, has an uncertain origin. Many experts say it comes from Belize with the smuggling of Edam cheese from Suriname.
Another story tells that this recipe came from a ship stranded in the Yucatecan Caribbean with a large shipment of Edam cheese. From that moment, the villagers began to use this ingredient, adding their touch and creating many recipes like Queso Relleno.
Anyway, there’s one thing that’s certain: Queso Relleno is also a great example of the fusion of flavors that exists in Yucatecan gastronomy thanks to the multicultural origin of the ingredients that we can taste in it today.
Like chaya leaves, Yucatecans have found in Edam Cheese (or Queso Bola as it is popularly known) a common ingredient for many dishes such as delicious marquesitas, empanadas, salbutes, and even cakes.
The recipe for Queso Relleno has been modified over the years, but the traditional served in most restaurants in Yucatan, is stuffed with ground meat, tomato sauce and the famous “k’ool”, which is a white sauce made with chicken broth and corn starch.
However, you can also find it stuffed with shrimp or chicken, but I’m going to show you how to make the traditional version.
Ingredients for Queso Relleno (Stuffed Edam Cheese)
- A ball of Edam cheese
- ½ kilo of ground pork
- 50 grams of raisins
- 50 grams of capers
- One onion
- One garlic clove
- Four tablespoons of butter
- 50 grams of pitted olives
- A piece of fabric to cover the cheese and cook it
Ingredients for K´ool or White Sauce
- Two epazote leaves
- 4 cups of chicken broth
- 50 grams of capers
- 50 grams of olives
- 150 grams of corn starch
- A cup of water
Ingredients for Tomato Sauce
- ½ kilo of tomato
- ½ onion
- 1 Xcatik pepper
- Salt and pepper
How to make Queso Relleno
- In a frying pan, put butter to sauté the onion and garlic.
- Add the raisins, olives, capers, and meat.
- Cook everything, season with salt and pepper, and reserve.
- Remove all the red wax from the Queso Bola.
- Cut the top creating a lid about 1.5 centimeters thick to cover it later.
- With a spoon, begin to dig into the Cheese Ball until there’s a hole in the middle without breaking the walls of the ball.
- Fill the Queso Bola with the meat we made before and cover it with the piece of cloth you previously cut.
- Now place the Stuffed Cheese inside the blanket and tie it.
- Place it inside a pot to steam it until the cheese softens.
How to make K´ool or White Sauce
- Heat the chicken broth
- Add the capers, olives and epazote leaves
- In a cup of water, dissolve the cornstarch
- Add it to chicken broth and stir until thickened
How to make the Tomato Sauce
- Heat the oil in a frying pan
- Cut the tomatoes and onion
- When the oil is boiling, add the tomatoes, the onion, and the Xcatik pepper
- Let it cook and season with salt and pepper.
I know what you are thinking… and yes, it is a complex dish. However, its flavor justifies each and every step of the processes that involves its preparation. Serving this delicacy also has an order to continue with the traditional recipe of Yucatecan Queso Relleno:
On a deep plate, serve a good quantity of white sauce, better known as K´ool by the Yucatecans. Then cut the stuffed cheese into slices and place it in the white sauce. Finally, bath it with the tomato sauce and you’re done.
Don’t forget to make or buy handmade tortillas to give this dish a more traditional touch.
For those who just want to eat it and not make it, I will recommend some of the best places in Yucatan to try it during your trip:
- Restaurant Kinich in Izamal, Yucatan
- Restaurant La Chaya Maya in Merida, Yucatan
- Restaurant Pueblo Pibil in Tixkokob, Yucatan
- Restaurant La Casona de Valladolid in Valladolid, Yucatan
- Restaurant Príncipe Tutul Xiu in Maní, Yucatan
Undoubtedly, this dish, like many others in Yucatecan gastronomy, has a unique seasoning that makes it one of the most representative delicacies of Yucatan and it´s a must.
Leave me your comments if you have already tried this delicacy or if you would like me to write about more Yucatecan recipes.
Apasionado por lo no establecido, viajo y colecciono historia para compartir con quien quiera escucharlas, tomo fotos para recordar que aún no conozco todo el mundo y amo la tecnología porque alguna adicción debía de tener.