Below is a rendition of Peru’s Rocoto Relleno “Stuffed Hot Pepper” Recipe.
ROCOTO RELLENO “Stuffed hot pepper” RECIPE
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 chile peppers (anaheim or similar), seeds and veins removed, chopped
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 pound ground bison
- 1 hard boiled egg, coarsly chopped
- 1/3 cup sliced black olives
- 4 bell peppers
Preheat the oven to 350. Sauté garlic onions and chile peppers in one pan and mix in cumin and cayenne pepper. In a separate bowl pour boiling water over the raisins and let sit for roughly 10 minutes (or until they expand and soften). Add ground bison, raisins, black olives, and hard-boiled egg to your onion and chile pepper mixture. While browning the meat and vegetables, place the bell peppers in a pot of boiling water to soften. When ready, place the bell peppers on a baking sheet, fill with meat and vegetable mixture, and heat in oven for 10-15 minutes.
I was drawn to this recipe for many reasons, the color, the simplicity, and the health benefits. Rocoto relleno is considered one of the most famous dishes in Peruvian cuisine having originated in Arequipa, a city high in the Andes mountains of Peru. Much like North America, South American food varies by location. Even a traditional recipe like the one above can take on many different forms depending on the city. Regions all over Peru identify with this dish. In Cusco you’ll see the rocoto dish covered in an egg batter and deep fried before serving, where as the Arequipa version is on the lighter side. My recipe is closest to that of the Arequipa recipe. Many grocery stores in the U.S. don’t have rocoto peppers so I chose to use regular bell peppers and stayed away from deep frying to keep it on the healthier side. The main difference in flavor here will be the spice, since rocotos are hotter than jalepeños when raw. But with the addition of cumin, cayenne pepper, and chile peppers you can make it as hot as you want! The recipe above is gluten, dairy, and grain free.
To me, food is a direct connection to culture. Eating local foods is like walking through a museum. Understanding why and how recipes originate and change is like picking up a history book. It can help us understand tradition and the environment.
Foodies have taken the world by storm, and I am a full supporter! Finding a restaurant with the perfect combination of ambience and flavor puts me in my happy place. But, traveling can make finding these places a daunting task. Through much in-the-field research (ie. eating at local restaurants and markets) Knowmad has found the sweet spot. Whether you are focused on staying healthy abroad, interested in cooking, or hungry for the local cuisine, Knowmad has you covered.
One of our favorite things to do in Cusco is an ineractive Peruvian cuisine cooking lesson. You will meander through an Andean market where you will find and purchase fresh ingredients and interact with local sellers. Shortly there after, with some of Peru’s most incredible views as a backdrop, you, with the help of a chef, will prepare and enjoy an exquisite all-natural dish.
If learning from the ground up is more your style, then you will surely enjoy a trip to the Lamay Organic Farm outside of Cusco. This day excursion combines hands on farming using traditional Andean agricultural tools with educational lessons on planting and harvesting. Later in the day you will do a short hike to Erapampa, an organic vegetable farm, where you will pick fresh vegetables and help prepare a healthy lunch packed with fresh, local, and organic ingredients.
To truly get the feel of Peruvian culture and Peruvian food, you can experience Cusco through the eyes of a local chef. For this excursion you will buy food together at a farmer’s market and later be invited to the chef’s home for a private culinary lesson. Starting with the preparation of the famous Pisco Sour and moving on to traditional entrées and main courses, you will gain a truly unique understanding of local Peruvian cuisine and life.
Culinary travel can be a rewarding, educational experience combining some of the worlds best flavors with a first-hand look at local history and tradition. Have you ever been on a culinary vacation? What is one of your favorite dishes you discovered while traveling?
Nos Vemos, Lisa
Lisa is the Media Manager at Knowmad Adventures, a company dedicated to creating unique, private and custom trips in South America. She studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2012 and is continually planning her next adventure. Read Lisa’s biography and more about the Knowmad team.