Full disclaimer: this in not an authentic Peruvian recipe. The traditional dish is called rocoto relleno, rocoto being a special type of Peruvian really really REALLY hot chilli that I haven’t been able to find fresh in Australia. You can find them jarred but IMO it’s not the same. They jarred version is wet and soggy, characteristics that are particularly unappealing when talking about vegetables you’re about to stuff.
*Real* Peruvians (i.e. not my husband) like their food spicy, so they don’t mind their rocoto relleno to have a bit of a kick. Wimps and kids might prefer to have their rocoto boiled multiple times in water, vinegar and sugar to minimise the heat or have pimiento (capsicum) instead of rocoto.
Rocoto relleno is a dish typical to Arequipa, the white city. The filling is the almighty Peruvian filling based on beef mince, onion, garlic and chilli. The cheese in traditional recipes is paria, a salty fresh cheese. The closest substitution I’ve found here in Australia is sheep and/or goat haloumi. Rocoto relleno is commonly served with a side of pastel de papa, basically a potato bake. I recommend serving it with a leafy green salad instead.
Pimiento relleno (Peruvian-style stuffed capsicum)
Yield: 4 servings
- 2 tbsp ghee or oil
- 250g beef mince
- 250g pork mince
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 tbsp ají panca (Peruvian red chilli paste – you can sub any chilli paste)
- 4 large capsicums
- 4 olives, pitted
- 2 boiled eggs, halved
- 8 slices (about 240g) sheep and/or goat haloumi cheese
- Preheat oven to a moderate-high temperature (180-200°C)
- Heat the ghee or oil in a saucepan. Add meat and brown.
- Add onion, garlic and ají panca. Cook until meat is fully cooked and onions are soft.
- Cut the top off each capsicum and carefully remove the internal membranes and seeds.
- Fill each capsicum halfway with meat, add 1 olive, 1/2 boiled egg and cover with more meat.
- Top filling with 2 slices of cheese and cover with the capsicum “lid”.
- Pop in the oven until the capsicum is soft but not soggy and the cheese has started melting. Serve with a green salad.