This installment of Campfire Cooking results in this delicious dinner:
After a day of hiking (and yes, napping) we were ready for a hardy dinner! Food always tastes better cooked outside, and this meal is no exception. I have been a (mostly) pescatarian for a year and half now and choose this food journey for reasons of health, spirituality and environmental ethics.
That being said – my family does not always travel this path with me. And that’s ok. But if I’m going to cook them meat, then I make sure it’s sustainably and humanely raised and processed. We purchased some locally raised, grass fed beef and that’s what we brought camping with us this weekend for our steak dinner. We also brought produce from The Farm Table, which is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) that delivers fresh, locally grown produce right to our door. Some of the produce came from my friend Park Ranger Tom Kneipp at Bear Creek Lake State Park. Food is better when it’s close to the earth and grown by people you know and love.
For you meatatarians out there, the steak was pronounced delicious. I like the marinade used here for tofu or Portobello mushroom caps.
*A list of ingredients for this meal can be found at the end.
Prep the steak:
Make a marinade using 2 cloves of garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons of the onion finely chopped, the chili powder, salt and pepper to taste, the beer and a drizzle of the extra virgin olive oil. Pour over your steak, mushroom or tofu, put in your cooler or fridge and let it maridnade until ready to cook – at least an hour but longer if you have the time.
To prep the squash – wash then cut into ½ inch cubes. Use half of the remaining onion, cut the same size and the celery tops finely chopped (note – I usually use these in broth, but since I wasn’t fixin’ to make broth and we had eaten all the rest of the celery as snacks, that’s what I used. I like the slightly bitter celery taste they add to food, and of course there’s the whole waste not want not…).
Items prepped for steak dinner
For the potatoes – scrub then boil until just tender. Finely chop the collards, rest of the onions and last two cloves of garlic.
And now it’s time to cook!
Start with the squash – get your dutch oven nice and hot. For my 12 inch oven I used 10 coals on the bottom and about 11 on top. I also used a liner, just to keep cleanup easy. Start with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in the bottom, then add all ingredients at once salt and pepper to taste, stir, slap on the lid then let it cook. Stir it every 5 minutes or so , and pull it off the coals when it’s as tender as you want it.
Squash cooking in the dutch oven
Steak and veggies are cooking
For the potatoes – smash them while hot or room temp. If they are cold they’ll crumble! You can smash them easily be pressing down gently with a towel just until the flatten out, but still hold together (see picture). Set your skillet on the fire or camp stove (or cheat like we did and use an electric skillet – don’t judge me) and let it get pretty hot. Put a drizzle of oil in your skillet, add the potatoes, greens and onions and garlic and cook until browned. Stir gently or the potatoes will fall apart. This smells sooooo good while it’s cooking.
My sous chef preparing the potatoes
Cook your steak to desired doneness, and when you serve sprinkle the potatoes with feta, if desired.
Then eat and go back for seconds – hey, you hiked – you deserve it, right?!
Ingredients for a hungry family of five campers:
A couple of decent sized sirloin steaks (or the equivalent of tofu or Portobello)
4 – 5 squash – mixed yellow and zucchini
3 to 4 celery tops
1 large Vidalia onion
1.5 lbs of very small new potatoes
5 young, fresh collard green leaves
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder
Salt and pepper
½ cup Beer
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Feta cheese (optional)