Savory, slightly sweet, somewhat spicy and salty, Grilled Rocoto and Bison Pizza 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 grilled pizza may spoil you for that pepperoni pizza you’re accustomed to!
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 aji 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.
Feature Ingredient: 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 used roasted red bell peppers, keeping in mind their heat level. We think they’re a perfect addition to pizza!
So on to the creation of this Grilled Rocoto and Bison Pizza… 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. The “savory” component I recommend is ground 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, lamb, 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-boiled eggs, and they make a really interesting finish to this delicious pizza.
We grill our Rocoto and Bison 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!
Rocoto and Bison Pizza
Savory, slightly sweet, somewhat spicy and salty, Rocoto and Bison Pizza 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 grilled pizza may make spoil you for that pepperoni pizza you're accustomed to!
- 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
Preheat grill or oven to medium-high (about 400 degrees). Pizza dough should be VERY thin. I cook mine on the grill on a pizza stone.
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.
To 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.
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!
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.