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the red chasseur

the red chasseur

Every year we host a Fall Outdoor Gathering for a large group of backpackers and canoeists in Algonquin Provincial Park. The first year we did this we had a chili cook-off and my friend Alison made a chili that was just a little bit different than the traditional style of chili I am used to.  The flavor was vibrant and dish delicious.

What I remember, other than the great dish, was that Alison actually brought her red chasseur to cook her chili in. Imagine — taking a beautiful piece of kitchen gear like that car camping! I teased Alison the entire weekend. Not about her bringing such a wonderful vessel but that I was going to take it home with me. I ended up buying my own.

After the event Alison sent me the recipe for the chili she made and it has now become a family favorite. I liked it so much that I bought the cookbook that the recipe came from, Looneyspoons, by sisters-in-law Janet and Greta Podleski.

grocery cart chicken chili

from the Looneyspoons Cookbook © 1997 Janet and Greta Podleski
makes 6 servings

One man’s junk is another man’s treasure! This super-spicy creation is based on a recipe that was found in an abandoned grocery cart at the side of a dirt road. Yes, we’re serious, and no, we’re not garbage pickers.

1-1/2 cups chopped red onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast (about 1-1/4 pounds)
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) tomatoes, undrained, cut up
1 cup tomato-based chili sauce
1-1/2 cups low sodium, reduced fat chicken broth
1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon each Dijon mustard and “lite” Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon each cayenne pepper and  black pepper
1 can (15 ounces)  red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces)  white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

Spray a large sauce pan (or nice red Chasseur) with non-stick spray. Add onions, garlic, green peppers, and jalapeños. Cook over medium heat until tender, about 7 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, except kidney beans and cheese. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add kidney beans and cook 5 more minutes. Ladle chili into individual bowls and top each with a sprinkle of cheese.

A magazine called Get Out! Outdoor Adventure in the Ohio River Region used a recipe from my book A Fork in the Trail called Banana Breakfast Bars in their March issue. It is a filling a decadent treat for the trail that you make at home for a grab-and-go breakfast. The beauty of this recipe is that it makes a great bar for other activities too. It will give you energy for that bike ride on the city trails or working in the garden.

Here is the recipe.

banana breakfast bars

© 2008 Laurie Ann March
this recipe is an excerpt from the book A Fork in the Trail

makes 10–12 servings

This is another one of those make-at-home recipes where the bars seem to disappear before the trip.

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3 ripe bananas
3 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup malted milk powder, such as Ovaltine, or chocolate-flavored protein powder
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips (or 1/2 cup of each)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Mix the butter and sugar together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Beat the egg and pour it in the bowl. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl, add them to the eggs, and mix well. Stir in the oats, salt, and milk powder combining well. Add the walnuts and the raisins or chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Line the tops and sides of a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with a single piece of parchment paper. Then butter the top of the paper. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake at 350º F for 1 hour. After the slab has cooled, cut it into bars and wrap them in waxed paper. Place the wrapped bars in a ziplock freezer bag. These bars freeze very well for several months.

Tip: To make the parchment paper easier to manage, place a little butter in the bottom of your pan and then place the parchment paper in the pan. The butter underneath with hold the paper in place, making it easier for you to butter the top of the paper.

building the oven

building the oven

On Sunday our family celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, albeit a day early, in Algonquin Provincial Park. Believe it or not, we cooked two turkey breasts in an oven that was made out of a cardboard box lined with foil. Instructions on this are in my wilderness cookbook, A Fork in the Trail, in a small chapter related to campground and base camping.

While Bryan, my darling husband, built the oven I prepared homemade cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries, valencia orange juice, black pepper and sugar. I also made stuffing which consisted of Calabrese style Italian bread, diced/cooked Oktoberfest sausage, onions, apples, crimini mushrooms, salt, pepper and sage. Oh and butter too. I baked this in something called an Outback Oven which is a camp oven for backpackers.

the finished product

the finished product

I put bits of butter and rubbed sage under the skin of the turkey breasts and placed them in an oven bag and then in a pan. This got placed on the rack we suspended inside the oven. The cardboard box oven ran at 350ºF.


Well you preheat 10 charcoal briquettes in a campfire for 15 minutes and then place them in a pie tin at the bottom of the box. The pie tin has to be sitting up on a few rocks so the air circulates. It is pretty accurate but to maintain the temperature you have to replace the charcoal every hour.

It worked out really well. We also roasted sweet potatoes, baby carrots and baby yellow potatoes over the campfire. I forgot to turn the potatoes so, as you can see from the photo, some of the skins were a little dark.

I also received some big news on the weekend from my publisher. The proposal for my second book, Another Fork in the Trail, has been officially accepted. The trail cookbook will be on the shelves in Spring 2011.

You have probably noticed that I have been a little scarce around the craveable blog lately. So many things have been going on including a few camping trips, working on the second wilderness cookbook, client work and getting my son settled in the back-to-school routine.

My current trail cookbook, A Fork in the Trail, is doing well and I have been doing signings, interviews, demonstrations and such for that.

Now that I have a little more time I can get back to experimenting in the kitchen. Over the next few weeks I’ll be creating some new recipes to share with you and resurrecting some old family favorites.

bamboo rice & red quinoa

bamboo rice & red quinoa

I love it when the mail-lady comes to my door with a parcel. Often times it is gear to review for our website Outdoor Adventure Canada or copies of newspapers and magazines that my cookbook has been reviewed in. Then there are days like today where the parcel is some unusual ingredient that I have purchased online last Thursday. Talk about speedy delivery!

Today’s ingredients arrived from a company called Shalit Foods who is a Canadian distributor for Indian Harvest. I am very impressed with the ease of ordering and the delivery time.

I ordered 2 pounds of red quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) which is often more difficult to find than the more traditional white quinoa. I also ordered 2 pounds of bamboo infused rice. The bamboo rice is a really pretty shade of pale green.

I plan to use these ingredients to create some new dishes for my second backcountry cookbook and for the mainstream cookbook I am working on. I might even have to share a few sneak peeks on Craveable.