Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tasty Camp Stew(s)

This weekend the husband and I went camping. It was our first camping trip of the year after having a previously scheduled trip canceled because I was sick. We were lucky to have beautiful weather all weekend.

I like to have tasty food when I camp (technically I always like to have tasty food) but I also don't like to have to put in a lot of effort cooking once I am there. After many years of trial, I have designed a menu that is tasty but also involves minimum cooking/cleanup effort (in fact dishes only have to be done with breakfast).

Here's what I make:
Friday night dinner - Sausage Stew
Saturday breakfast- Grits with Cheese and Bacon, Donettes (I only eat donettes when I'm camping so it's quite the treat)
Saturday lunch - Hot Dogs (or Polish Dogs) cooked over the fire, chips
Saturday dinner - Beef Stew
Sunday breakfast - Scrambled Eggs with Cheese, Home-style Hash Browns with chopped Bacon and Onion, more donettes
Anytime there is a fire - Smores (made with Peanut-Butter Cups)

I like to do all my prep work before I leave home. I chop the onion for the hash browns and the hot dogs, chop and par-cook the potato for the hash browns and assemble both of the stews.

For the sausage stew, I use a lot of the ingredients, and flavors, that I use for a crab boil, just minus the crab.

Here's the ingredients for the Sausage Stew:

1/2 of a kielbasa, cut into large chunks
2-3 good size red potatoes, cut into eighths
2 ears of corn, each cut into four pieces
4 green onions, chopped
2 Tablespoon butter
Cajun Seasoning

I tossed all the ingredients together.

Then wrapped them in 2-3 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Here's the ingredients for the beef stew:

8 tiny carrots, scrubbed and chopped (the skins are really thin so they don't have to be peeled)
8 small red potatoes, quartered
12 small crimini mushrooms
20 frozen pearl onions
12 cloves garlic
3/4 pound beef stew meat
2 Tablespoon tomato paste
4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves stripped from the stems
12 sprig fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
truffle salt (cause that's how I roll)
black pepper

I combined all the ingredients except for the liquids, sealing my packet on three sides.

Then I added the liquid.

And completed the packets.

I made sure to label them, because the two stews look an awful lot alike.

For either of the stews, I wait until the fire has some nice embers, then place the packets near/in the embers turning them (being careful not to poke a hole in the packets) every fifteen minutes.

Usually, the sausage stew takes about 1 1/2 hours and the beef stew takes about 3 1/2 hours. However, this time, because of the weird set-up for the fire (it was open on two sides and I just wasn't used to it) both stews could have used more time.

To eat, I borrowed the husband's Leatherman and sliced open the packet. The packet turns into a bowl for the stew.

With both meals, the potatoes were not quite cooked through (but they were cooked enough to eat). And most everything else was delightful.

The only exception was the garlic in the beef stew. It was still really hard (which is sad because I LOVE the creamy flavor of the roasted garlic) but it still provided a great flavor to the stew.

Overall, I was delighted with all the food for the weekend (and the husband was glad that he didn't have to do too many dishes).

We had a great weekend. Unplugged and enjoying nature. The only downside, just look at the dirt on this dog.

Here's a closer view.

That is just not right.

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