Peruvian Pizza with Rocoto

Savory, slightly sweet, somewhat spicy and salty, Peruvian Pizza with Rocoto brings me back to the rustic restaurants in Peru (and the ever-present wood-fired pizza ovens), and the flavors of their beloved rocoto relleno… This unique grilled or baked pizza may spoil you for that pepperoni pizza you’re accustomed to!

Rocoto and Bison Pizza on a pizza stone with a block of parmesan and a grater.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Peruvian Pizza Inspiration

If you’ve followed Beyond Mere Sustenance for any length of time, you are aware that my husband and I spent the month of June 2017 in Peru. WE. LOVE. PERU. Prior to our trip to Peru, I had developed a love for Peruvian flavors and dishes, and was quite familiar with dishes like ají de gallina (chicken in creamy aji amarillo sauce), ceviche, and lomo saltado.

I created a couple of recipes for the blog – Peruvian Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo) and Roasted Sweet Potato and Giant Corn Peruvian Salad (Solterito). Upon our return from Peru, I featured a Creamy Tomato Bisque Peruvian-Style and Savory Plantain Pie. I’d be remiss if I neglected to feature a recipe with the ubiquitous (at least in Peru  😍) rocoto pepper.

So on to the creation of this Peruvian-Inspired Pizza with Rocoto… Having enjoyed rocoto rellenos in Peru a couple of times, wanted to come up with a ground meat mixture similar to the filling in the peppers in Peru. We have enjoyed a ground alpaca pizza with rocotos and hard-cooked eggs at the recommendation of our server at a small café in Cuzco. This pizza is a mash up of both the rocoto rellenos and that alpaca pizza.

The “savory” component I recommend is ground lambo or bison as I think it gets pretty close to the flavor of the ground alpaca in our favorite rendition of the dish. Your pizza won’t suffer if you use beef, elk, or pork, or even a combination.

The “sweet” comes from the raisins or currants, the “salty” from black olives, and the “spicy” of course comes from the rocotos. Peruvians love hard-cooked eggs, and they make a really interesting finish to this delicious pizza.

🌶 What are Rocoto Peppers?

The amazing rocoto pepper has thick walls like our very familiar bell peppers. In fact, you might mistake it for a red bell pepper… until you taste it! They’re quite hot! (Says this girl from New Mexico that loves all things spicy).

Rocoto (aka locoto in Bolivia) has been cultivated for thousands of years in Peru and Bolivia. It is among the oldest of domesticated peppers, having been grown by the Incas 5,000 years ago.

I buy rocoto peppers in a tall jar at a local Latin grocery. I carefully remove the black seeds and ribs as this helps reduce the heat. They can be used as we use roasted red bell peppers, keeping in mind their heat level. We think they’re a perfect addition to pizza!

Grilled Rocoto and Bison Pizza Sliced

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

  • pizza crust – You have choices! 1. Make the pizza dough by hand or with the aid of a bread machine (my preference). 2. Use fresh dough found in the bakery of many large supermarkets. 3. Use frozen or cardboard tube dough from the grocery store. 4. Use a pre-made crust or naan bread.
  • olive oil
  • ground lamb – When I have a similar pizza in Peru, it’s ground alpaca. Ground lamb or bison would be the closest US option. You can substitute ground beef, elk, or whatever you prefer.
  • onion
  • garlic
  • sherry – I de-glaze with dry sherry or pisco (if I have it). You can substitute broth.
  • currants or golden raisins
  • ground cumin
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • rocoto peppers – Substitute roasted red bell pepper, piquillo pepper, Calabrian peppers (with a little heat), etc.
  • black olives – I love Peruvian black olives when in Peru, but the ones I’ve found locally are soft and flavorless. I usually use kalamata olives.
  • queso fresco – Fresh mozarella is a great substitute.
  • parmesan – Substitute asiago, pecorino, or other hard cheese.
  • hard-boiled eggs

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Prepare the pizza crust – Preheat the grill or oven to medium-high (about 400 degrees). Roll out the pizza dough. The crust should be VERY thin. I cook mine on the grill on a pizza stone. You may want to brush the stone or pan with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal, or spray with cooking spray.
  • Make the sauce – Brown the bison (add oil if needed). Add the onion and garlic as you break up the meat. When the meat is browned and the onion translucent, de-glaze with sherry or pisco. Add the currants or golden raisins, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer gently about 5 minutes until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  • Assemble the pizza – Drizzle the crust with olive oil. Use a pastry brush to spread. Layer the ground meat mixture, sliced rocoto peppers, olives, queso fresco, and parmesan.
  • Grill or bake the pizza – Cook pizza until crust is browning, and cheese is golden. (8-10 minutes usually but depends on heat level).
  • Finish the pizza – Add the hard-boiled egg slices or wedges. Enjoy!

❓ FAQ

How long does it take to make this pizza?

The stated time does not include making a pizza crust, because you have several options: 1. Make the pizza crust from scratch either by hand or in a bread machine. I have a bread machine, and either make a batch of pizza dough (makes 2 pizzas). When I make the dough, I get enough for 2 pizzas. If I’m really lucky, I have a ball of dough from the most recent bread machine batch ready to thaw. 2. Start with frozen dough or refrigerator dough. Obviously, if your dough is frozen, you’ll need to thaw it. Trader Joe’s has a good frozen pizza dough. 3. If I’m in a pinch (and craving this pizza), I will buy a pre-made crust or flatbread!

What type of ground meat is best to use?

My preference is bison. Bison is very lean. You may wish to use a drizzle of olive oil as you brown it. I also really like ground lamb. I believe it gets closest to the flavor of the ground alpaca we have had in Peru.

If I can’t find them, what can I substitute for the rocoto peppers? Rocoto peppers are widely available in jars packed in water at markets with a good selection of Latin foods. I remove the black seeds and membranes and slice them. You may find them frozen, just thaw and treat them the same. Roasted red peppers are a good substitute, but don’t have any heat. Add a bit of crushed red pepper to the meat as it browns. You could also use Hatch green chile as a substitute but the flavor is quite different.

We usually grill this pizza, as we’re trying to re-create the pizzas we loved in Peru. The small restaurants all had wood-fired ovens (usually the only source of heat), and every restaurant has pizza on the menu. If you aren’t comfortable with grilling pizza, I’ve provided conventional oven instruction as well. I really hope you’ll think “outside the pizza box” and try this unconventional but delicious pizza!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
Grilled Rocoto and Bison Pizza Feature Image

Peruvian-Inspired Pizza with Rocoto

Savory, slightly sweet, somewhat spicy and salty, this grilled or baked pizza features a sauce of ground meat (we love ground bison or lamb), currants or golden raisins, and onions then topped with rocoto peppers, olives, cheese, and hard-cooked egg cut in wedges. Delicioso!
5 from 3 votes

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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Eclectic, Peruvian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • pizza dough for 14″ pizza - (see notes)
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 pound ground bison - elk, beef, or lamb (see notes)
  • 1 small onion - finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • ¼ cup sherry - or pisco
  • cup currants or golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper - to taste
  • 1-2 rocoto peppers - cut in thin strips (see notes)
  • ¼ cup black olives - sliced
  • ½ cup queso fresco - cubed (or fresh mozarella)
  • ½ cup parmesan - grated
  • 2 eggs - hard-boiled, peeled, cut in wedges

Instructions

  • Preheat the grill or oven to medium-high (about 400 degrees). Roll out the pizza dough. The crust should be VERY thin. I cook mine on the grill on a pizza stone. You may want to brush the stone or pan with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal, or spray with cooking spray.
  • Brown the ground meat (add oil if needed). Add the onion and garlic as you break up the meat. When the meat is browned and the onion translucent, de-glaze with sherry or pisco. Add the currants or golden raisins, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer gently about 5 minutes.
  • Drizzle the crust with olive oil. Use a pastry brush to spread. Layer the ground meat mixture, sliced rocoto peppers, olives, queso fresco, and parmesan.
  • Cook pizza until crust is browning, and cheese is golden. (8-10 minutes usually but depends on heat level).
  • Add the hard-boiled egg slices or wedges. Enjoy!

Notes

The stated time does not include making a pizza crust. I have a bread machine, and either make a batch of pizza dough (makes 2 pizzas), or I buy frozen pizza dough. If I’m really lucky, I have a ball of dough from the most recent bread machine batch ready to thaw. If I’m in a pinch (and craving this pizza), I will buy a pre-made crust. Trader Joe’s has a good frozen pizza dough.
Bison is very lean. You may wish to use a drizzle of olive oil as you brown it.
Rocoto peppers are widely available in jars packed in water. I remove the black seeds and membranes and slice them. Roasted red peppers are a good substitute, but don’t have any heat. Add a bit of crushed red pepper to the meat as it browns. You could also use Hatch green chile as a substitute but the flavor is quite different.

Nutrition

Serving: 4Servings | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 33g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com
Yield: 4 servings

Peruvian-Inspired Pizza with Rocoto

Grilled Rocoto and Bison Pizza Feature Image

Savory, slightly sweet, somewhat spicy and salty, this grilled or baked pizza features a sauce of ground meat (we love ground bison!), currants or golden raisins, and onions then topped with rocoto peppers, olives, cheese, and hard-cooked egg cut in wedges. Delicioso!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • pizza dough for 14" pizza, (see notes)
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • 1 pound ground bison, elk, beef, or lamb (see notes)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sherry , or pisco
  • 1/3 cup currants or golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • sea salt/fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 rocoto peppers, cut in thin strips (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, cubed (or fresh mozarella)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, grated
  • 2 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, cut in wedges

Instructions

  1. Prepare the pizza crust - Preheat the grill or oven to medium-high (about 400 degrees). Roll out the pizza dough. The crust should be VERY thin. I cook mine on the grill on a pizza stone. You may want to brush the stone or pan with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal, or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Make the sauce - Brown the bison (add oil if needed). Add the onion and garlic as you break up the meat. When the meat is browned and the onion translucent, de-glaze with sherry or pisco. Add the currants or golden raisins, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer gently about 5 minutes.
  3. Assemble the pizza - Drizzle the crust with olive oil. Use a pastry brush to spread. Layer the ground meat mixture, sliced rocoto peppers, olives, queso fresco, and parmesan.
  4. Grill or bake the pizza - Cook pizza until crust is browning, and cheese is golden. (8-10 minutes usually but depends on heat level).
  5. Finish the pizza - Add the hard-boiled egg slices or wedges. Enjoy!

Notes

The stated time does not include making a pizza crust. I have a bread machine, and either make a batch of pizza dough (makes 2 pizzas), or I buy frozen pizza dough. If I'm really lucky, I have a ball of dough from the most recent bread machine batch ready to thaw. If I'm in a pinch (and craving this pizza), I will buy a pre-made crust. Trader Joe's has a good frozen pizza dough.

Bison is very lean. You may wish to use a drizzle of olive oil as you brown it.

Rocoto peppers are widely available in jars packed in water. I remove the black seeds and membranes and slice them. Roasted red peppers are a good substitute, but don't have any heat. Add a bit of crushed red pepper to the meat as it browns. You could also use Hatch green chile as a substitute but the flavor is quite different.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving: Total Fat: 33gCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 41g

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2 Comments

  1. Made this one on my own, from the recipe on the blog, a few nights ago when Tamara was up to her eyeballs with other stuff. It was easy, relatively quick, and pretty low-mess done on the grill. This is not a recipe that requires really high-level chef skills, and it tastes great!

    1. It was awesome honey… I really want to know that my recipes are achievable, and well-written, so thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂