in Camping / by Nick Jaynes
Fall is a season of change and reflection. The cool breeze in the air is refreshing to the soul, the gemstone color of the leaves brings thoughts of meditation and anticipation for the coming winter. But fall is also a season all about food.
Cold weather means more time inside and lots of holidays mean huge family gatherings with smorgasbords of food. If you are hitting the trails this fall and want to take a little bit of that edible magic along with you, we’re here to help you out.
Below, you’ll find a small selection of delectable recipes that will fill you with that fall spirit, but don’t require a culinary degree or a fully stocked fridge. In fact, you won’t even need a cooler.
If you can handle a knife and boil some water, you can create some incredible meals right in your campsite.
Fancy AF Instant Ramen
Taking a standard packet of instant Ramen and turning it into something special is actually really easy. All you need is a couple of extra veggies and a few spices to turn that package of college regrets into a satisfying meal.
We use shallots instead of onions because they are smaller, so you don’t need to worry about storing a half cut onion. Similarly, a large bulb of fresh garlic will keep for weeks and it’s easy to pull off a clove or two when you need it. Finally, a bag of baby carrots will keep for almost two weeks outside of the fridge. Along with being a great snack on the road, it’s easy to chop up adding some extra color and texture to your ramen.
The extra punch of flavor in this dish comes from the addition of some miso paste for complexity and some gochujang for a bit of sweetness and spice.
- Jet Boil or Camp Pot
- Campfire or Camp Stove
- Cutting Board
- Spray Oil
- 1 Medium Shallot
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 3 Baby Carrots
- 1 Packet Ramen (Chicken or Beef)
- 1 Tsp Miso Paste
- 1 Tsp Gochujang
- 1.5 Cups Water
- 1 Tbsp Black Sesame Seeds
Take your pot and throw a little spray oil in the bottom. Set it on the heat to start warming up.
Dice up your shallots, garlic, and carrots, and throw them in the pot. Stir and cook until fragrant and the shallot starts to go clear and soft.
Throw in the miso paste to season, and some gochujang if you like it spicy. Stir that around and let it cook for 15 to 30 seconds to char slightly for some extra flavor complexity.
Add your water and your ramen flavor packet, and stir once again.
Once the water is boiling, throw in your noodles and remove from the heat. Let sit for five minutes, occasionally tossing the noodles for even cooking.
Garnish with your sesame seeds and dig in.
Backpacker’s Beef Stew
Yeah, we started this by saying you wouldn’t even need a cooler to make all these meals, so how in the hell are we gonna use beef for a beef stew?! Well this is where the “backpacker” part of it comes in. We’re gonna cheat by using dried meat!
With a hearty helping of vegetables, a few bouillon cubes and some Italian spice blend for seasoning, we finish this stew off with some chopped up beef jerky to add the extra protein and savoriness to the dish. You can use any sort of “trail stable” meat you want. We’ve made this stew before with chopped up Slim Jims, chunked summer sausages, or you can even throw in some Spam if you’re feeling frisky.
If you are wondering what spice blend to get, it doesn’t really matter. All Italian spice blends will use some combination of rosemary, thyme, basil, and the like. Mostly we are just looking to add some herbaceousness to the broth to round out the flavors and add some complexity. If we wanted boring soup, we could heat up a can of Campbell’s.
- Cooking Pot (Dutch oven works amazing)
- Campfire or camp stove
- ½ Bag Baby Carrots
- 3-5 Medium Shallots
- 2-3 Large Potatoes
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic
- 1-2 Cubes Beef Bouillon
- 2 Tbsp Italian Spice Blend
- ½ Lb Beef Jerky
- 4 Cups of Water
Start by chopping up all your veggies. The size really comes down to your personal preference. The big things to consider are the size of the carrots and potatoes. These take the longest to cook, so they will dictate how long you have to wait until dinner is ready.
Set your pot on the heat and give it a healthy coat of cooking oil on the bottom. Throw in your carrots, shallots, and garlic first. Give those a few minutes of time to cook up and get fragrant, stirring occasionally.
Next throw in your water, bouillon cubes, and Italian spice blend. Give it all a good stir.
Once your broth mix is ready, throw in your potatoes and your carrots.
Bring the broth to a boil if it isn’t there yet.
The last ingredient to add is your choice of meat. We like using standard peppered beef jerky that has been chopped into strips, about ¼-inch wide and 1 inch long. Reduce the heat and try to maintain a good simmer.
Finally, you just sit back and wait. Let the stew cook for 20 to 40 minutes until it reduces slightly and the potatoes are fully cooked. Remove from the heat and serve.
Campside Pumpkin Pie
Is there anything more closely associated with fall than a pumpkin pie? With a couple of tricks and one simple camping cook tool we can show you how to make a personal hand pie filled with all the pumpkiny goodness you could ever want.
And no, we absolutely are not just using a can of pumpkin pie mix. We are better than that, and we can get way better results by using straight pumpkin and flavoring it ourselves. This is the only recipe where we are going to recommend making something ahead of time. We will be using a big blend of spices for our pumpkin mix, and it is dramatically easier to prepare the spice blend at home, so then you can just mix it into the pumpkin at camp. This also saves you from needing to pack a pile of small measuring spoons and an entire box full of spices.
So, let’s dive in!
- Cast Iron Pie Makers (like these ones)
- Mixing Bowl
- Large Spoon
- 1 Loaf of bread
- 1 Can Libby’s Pure Pumpkin
- 3 Tbsp Magic Spice Mix, which contains:
- White Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Kosher Salt
First, let us make up our spice mix. Again, we suggest you mix this up at home and then you can just bring a small amount with you on the camping trip to make pies. This will make your life much easier.
In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients and mix thoroughly:
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
3 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Kosher Salt
1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
½ Tsp Ground Clove
½ Tsp Ground Allspice
With that done, lightly spray the inside of your cast iron pie makers with oil.
Set one piece of bread on each side of the pie maker.
Fill one side with 3 to 4 tablespoons of pie filling.
Close the pie makers and set on your warm fire to let them cook.
Make sure to rotate every two minutes and periodically check for doneness.
You want the bread to be well toasted and the filling to be bubbling out of the edges slightly.
Enjoy your campfire pumpkin pies!
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