Thu. Feb 29th, 2024
Campfire food that stands the test of time

For experienced campers and newbies alike, Ontario’s provincial parks hold cherished memories for generations of visitors.

And while modern campgrounds feature lightweight, free-standing tents, energy-efficient radiant burner stoves that boil water in 90 seconds, and electronics that bring camping games like Hide and Go Seek (aka geocaching) to the New Age heights, basic camp kitchen equipment has stood the test of time.

That’s right!

Cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens, for example, withstand the scorching heat of an open fire, hold their own surrounded by hot coals, and have a good weight for cooking on top of a single-burner butane stove.

Enameled steel cookware, cookware, and dinnerware are also built to last and can withstand extreme heat changes without compromising their form or function.

So, with the past in mind and with Ontario Parks celebrating its 125th anniversary, here are two timeless camp-worthy recipes created with today’s pre-seasoned cast iron cookware.

Campfire Pan Breakfast

(for 2 persons)

  • 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat (alternatively, use vegetable oil), divided
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 package (500 g) frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 2 breakfast sausages
  • 2 large eggs
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • Roasted flour tortillas, to serve

In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons bacon fat and heat until shimmering. Then add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the potatoes in a single layer and cook according to package directions until crisp and golden.

Move the potato and onion mixture to the side of the pan, add the sausages, and cook according to package directions.

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Move the sausages to the side, melt the remaining tablespoon of bacon fat and heat until shimmering, then crack the eggs into a frying pan and cook to desired doneness. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately, accompanied by hot grilled tortillas.

Meat roll Rolls

(For 4 people)

  • 1 thick sirloin steak (about 1 ½ inches), cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices and pounded into 3-inch-long strips
  • 1 box store-bought stuffing mix, prepared according to package directions and chilled
  • wooden chopsticks
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat (alternatively, use vegetable oil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Place a tablespoon of the prepared filling on one end of a strip of meat, roll it up and secure with a toothpick.

Repeat the process with the remaining meat strips and filling.

Lightly dust the rolls with flour and set aside.

In a 3-quart cast iron pot over medium heat, melt bacon fat and heat until shimmering.

Working in batches, brown the trill rolls on all sides, then transfer to a rimmed plate and set aside.

To the pot, add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Return the rolls to the pot, add the beef broth and rosemary and stir gently to combine.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid and continue cooking over medium-low heat until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately with the cooking juices on top. Serve with steamed vegetables, if desired.

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