Have you cooked outdoors? These outdoor cooking and campfire recipes will hopefully inspire you to!
Once upon a time, cooking over fire was the only option our ancestors had. No access to an Oven or Microwave, the option of a ‘ready meal’ was non existent. These days we can be spoilt with convenience foods, be it pre made dinners from the supermarket or 24hr takeaways that deliver right to your door. The closest we come to cooking primally outdoors is a couple of BBQ’s in our “blink and you’ve missed it” British summertime.
Many of us (especially if you are reading this blog) enjoy the outdoors, even more of us enjoy food, yet the two are rarely combined in a favourable fashion. The heavily clingfilmed Cheese and Pickle sandwich, squashed in the bottom of a rucksack is often chosen to fuel a hike. However, some of you may step it up a level and pack a dehydrated meal and a gas burner, just add boiled water and a hot ‘meal’ is ready. The speed and ease of this is certainly approving but in my eyes these prepacked Bombay mix sachets are the ready meals of the outdoors. Now don’t get me wrong, emergency ration packs and other freeze dried fuels are instrumental in the success of explorations in dangerous zones and will save lives on lengthy excursions. The weight by Kilojoule isn’t going to be able to be replicated by a homecooked meal, and in that environment I’d be munching a boil in the bag down quicker than I can make a Beurre Noisette.
Nevertheless the average outdoor lover is more likely to be enjoying a stroll in the Lake District, a camp near a beautiful coastline, or a day by the river on a sunny day. It is these situations that the experience can be heightened with a hot cooked meal in the outdoors.
Here are my top 5 meals to make and enjoy outside.
1. Sausage and Mash
A classic that can be enjoyed as a hefty lunch or a fulfilling dinner after a day in the outdoors.
Advanced– Boil your spuds on location, sieve off and mash into a velvety blend. Deglaze the frying pan, after cooking the sausages, with Red Wine and reduce to create a tasty jus to accompany the dish.
Beginners– Make your mash at home and heat it through in a pan. Use gravy granules to knock up a quick sauce.
2. Bacon & Eggs on Toast
Perfect to start the day after a night in the tent or perhaps a spot of brunch whilst at one with nature.
Advanced – Poach your Eggs. Toast the bread directly over the open flame. Sautee some onions with a little sugar and balsamic vinegar for a delicious savoury jam to spread on your toast. Garnish with Rocket.
Beginners – Fry the eggs and bacon in the same pan. Toast the bread at home and bring it ready. Pack a bottle of sauce.
3. Chicken Stew
A versatile dish that can be packed full of veg and cheap cuts of meat or kept simple.
Advanced – Brown Chicken Thighs and then remove from the pan. Fry off finely diced Onion, Carrot, Celery, Leek, Fresh Thyme and Bay leaves until softened. Add Bacon and fry til cooked. Add White Wine and deglaze the pan and reduce slightly. Return the Chicken to the pan and top with Chicken Stock. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add Red Lentils. Simmer for additional 20 – 25 minutes. Serve with torn bread.
Beginners – Cook and cube Chicken Breasts at home. Fry off Onion, Carrot, Celery and Bacon until softened. Add Chicken and add shop bought creamy casserole sauce. Heat through and serve with bread.
4. Chilli Con Carne
A staple one pot dish still enjoyed over fire on many a ranch in the United States.
Advanced – Roast some peppers on the open flame until the skin is blackened and inside softened. Let cool and peel away skin. Fry onions and garlic in a pan, add beef mince or braising steak. Brown/cook. Add dried oregano and chilli powder. Add roasted peppers (now sliced). Add chopped tomatoes and kidney beans (drained). Simmer until meat is tender. Serve with freshly boiled rice, a spoonful of sour cream and tortilla chips.
Beginners – Make the Chilli at home (lets face it a Chilli always tastes better the next day). Heat it over fire and serve with tortilla chips.
Classic BBQ fare. Mix it up with your favourite toppings and no plates required!
Advanced – Make your own burger mix with beef mince, finely diced onion, egg, breadcrumbs, wholegrain mustard and parsley. Shape into patties. Make a sauce of your choice; mustard mayo, burger sauce, sticky BBQ sauce. Fry the burgers until cooked and serve in buns with onion, lettuce, tomato, gherkins, cheese and sauce.
Beginners – Buy burgers from the supermarket/local butchers. Fry up and serve with whatever garnishes you like and pack a bottle of sauce of your preference.
I hope this inspires some of you to give cooking outdoors a go. Just remember to respect the environment you are in and leave no trace by taking all rubbish home with you. All dishes cooked on a wood burning Biolite stove. For more recipes and outdoor activities check out @fellfoodie on Instagram.
Pictures by Daniel J Toal (@danieljtoal) and Harrison Ward (@fellfoodie)
We hope these awesome recipes have inspired some of you to get creative with your cooking outdoors. Whether you try these or something more veggie, it’s a great way to stay healthy in the hills and keep your lunch exciting. These are great lunch ideas for a day in the hills or camping recipes for the whole family. We’re expecting to see big things from Harrison so please follow his journey and tag us both in your outdoor cooking adventures.