Taking care of our essential needs out in the backcountry normally requires prioritizing practicality over pleasure. Even our nutritional needs, sadly, are usually satisfied with an attitude of attending to grim necessity rather than pleasure as we fuel our bodies with such stolid, joyless delicacies as trail mix, energy bars, energy gels, and sandwiches long since gone stale or soggy in their wrappers. Haute cuisine it is not…
Even if we’re just pitching up at the roadside or camping at an established site, the common line of thinking is that camping time equals time for compromise on culinary decency, and as such are we’re apt to lower our expectations and efforts accordingly. For some of us, however, there’s a feeling that just the opposite should be true — that camping entails enough sacrifices of creature comfort as it is and so come dinner time our taste buds deserve something just a little more, well…appetizing. And wholesome. And hearty.
At All Outdoors Guide, we heartily agree, and so below we’re going to do those taste buds and your tummies a favor by introducing you to eight camp stew recipes that will make campsite dinners something to look forward to.
The Eight Best Camp Stew Recipes
1. Southern Camp Stew
A hearty chicken dish that is the quintessence of campsite comfort food, this one is an all-time classic that will have your neighbors casting envious eyes over the roofs of their tents and their dogs petitioning for adoption. Just as importantly, it’s simple to make, about as filling as they come, and can be ready to eat in as little as fifteen minutes.
l 1 1/2 cups of frozen whole-kernel corn
l 1 cup of chicken stock
l 2 tablespoons of vinegar
l 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
l 1/4 cup of tomato paste
l 1 can of diced tomatoes
l 1 can of green lima beans (rinsed and drained)
l 2 teaspoons of hot sauce (optional)
l Pre-cooked chicken
1. Throw all the ingredients except the chicken in a large Dutch oven, cover and bring to the boil before leaving to simmer for 6/7 minutes.
2. Add chicken strips/cubes/shreds and cook for another 3/4 minutes.
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2. Moroccan Vegetarian Stew
Nothing quite “fills a hole” like this helluva hearty, flavor-filled North African hunger-beater. This one’s a little trickier to make and requires a plethora of ingredients, but as soon the scent of all those aromatic spices start seeping out of the pot and makes its way to your nostrils you’ll know it was well worth the effort!
l 1 cup of vegetable broth (made with stock)
l Half a cup of olive oil
l 1 chopped onion
l 1 clove of crushed garlic
l 1 sweet potato, diced
l 1 cup of dried green beans
l 1 red pepper, chopped
l 1/2 cup of soy chunks
l 2 cans of diced tomatoes
l 1/2 cup of prunes
l 3 or 4 dried apricots, diced
l 8 ounces of artichoke hearts
l 1/2 cup of black olives
l 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
l 1/4 teaspoon of ginger, ground
l 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, ground
l 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
l 3 cloves
l 1 pinch of chili flakes
l 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
l 1 pinch of saffron
l 1 cup of toasted almonds
l 3 cups of couscous
l 4 cups of water
l Juice of half a lemon
1. Place the oil in the pan on a medium heat.
2. Add onion, garlic, beans, potato, red pepper, and soy, and then leave to cook for 4/5 minutes.
3. Add tomatoes, spices, lemon, and water, bring to boil and then leave to simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Add sugar, olives, almonds, and couscous and leave to simmer for another 10-12 minutes.
3. Beef Stew
A classic, no-nonsense kinda dish that uses basic ingredients to bring far-from-basic results on the flavor front. This one can be made with extra flour to make a thick, creamy sauce or without to leave a more soup-like consistency — either way, it’s a winner!
l 1 tablespoon of oil
l 2 pounds of beef stew meat, cut into chunks
l 1 chopped onion
l 3 cloves of minced garlic or half a teaspoon of garlic flakes
l salt and pepper, to taste
l half a cup of tomato paste
l 2 tablespoons of flour (add more to thicken if necessary)
l 2 cans of condensed beef broth
l water (as required)
l 5 small, chopped potatoes
l 2 chopped/sliced carrots
1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven.
2. Add the beef and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Add salt, pepper, and tomato paste.
5. Add flour.
6. Slowly stir in the beef broth, adding enough liquid to cover the meat by around an inch.
7. Cover and cook for 45 minutes.
8. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for another 20 minutes.
4. Pork and/or Chicken Brunswick Stew
Got some pork or chicken leftovers from a family dinner? Throw them in the freezer and save them up for a new lease of life in this delicious Brunswick stew. After a hard day on the trails, few feasts can refill the tank quite as well as this wholesome, nourishing take on an all-time classic.
l 2 cups of cooked of chicken (shredded, chopped, or diced)
l 2 cups of cooked pork
l 5 tablespoons butter
l 1 can of diced tomatoes
l 2 chopped onions
l 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
l 3 cups of diced potatoes
l 1 cup of lima beans
l 2 cups of corn kernels
l 3 cups of chicken stock
l 1 cup of barbecue sauce
l 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
l 2 tablespoons/4 sachets of brown sugar
l 1 teaspoon of salt
l 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
l 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1. Start by melting the butter in your Dutch oven and then adding the onion. Leave the onion to cook until a very light golden color.
2. Cook the garlic with the onions for a further two minutes and then throw in the potatoes, lima beans, corn, chicken stock, and tomatoes.
3. Bring to the boil.
4. Cover the pot and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes.
5. Add the barbecue sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt, peppers, chicken, and/or pork.
6. Leave to simmer for another 10 minutes.
5. Onion and Potato Stew
A full-hearted winter warmer and tummy filler, this simple but mightily tasty dish ain’t one for the calorie-counters but a winner for lovers of good, old-fashioned, no-nonsense grub that’s full of flavor.
l 4 cups of water
l 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
l 1 cup dried potatoes
l 4 beef bouillon cubes
l 1/4 teaspoon of thyme
l 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley
l 1 medium-sized onion, diced
l Salt and pepper to taste
l 3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Add water and stir in cornstarch until the liquid has a smooth consistency.
2. Put the mix on a high heat, bringing it to the boil, and then add the dried potatoes and leave to simmer for 8 minutes.
3. Add onions (sliced or diced) and simmer for another 4 minutes.
4. Add salt, pepper and, parsley to taste.
5. Top off with a sprinkling of parmesan, grana padano, or pecorino cheese.
6. Irish Stew
A filling vegetable and beef stew that’s ideal for St Patrick’s Day celebrations or anyone with a hankering for a hefty, hearty dish that can quell any size of appetite. For those out on the trails and trying to keep things light, this one is a great way to get your fill of comforting grub without packing too much weight thanks to its use of dehydrated or freeze-dried ingredients.
l 1/4 cup of dehydrated potatoes
l 250g of dehydrated beef or freeze-dried beef
l 2 teaspoons of dehydrated carrots
l 1 tablespoon of dehydrated green beans
l 1 tablespoon of freeze-dried, caramelized red onion (or dehydrated onions)
l 1 tablespoon of beef gravy powder
l 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
l 1 teaspoon of bouillon powder
l 1-1 1/4 cups of water
1. Place all the ingredients in a zip-lock bag (or two, to be on the safe side).
2. Throw the mixture into a pot and add 1-1.5 cups of water.
3. Bring to the boil on a medium heat.
4. Take the pot off of the stove, cover, and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
7. Lentil Stew
As comforting as it is nutritious, this vegetarian stew is ideal for chilly nights in the campsite when you need something a little bit special to lift your spirits and warm your heart by way of the contents of your stomach. Most importantly, however, all of the ingredients in this recipe can be prepared in advance so all you have to do is add water, kick back, and prepare yourself for a belly-filling feast to remember.
l 6 tablespoons of lentils
l 1 vegetable bouillon cube
l 1 teaspoon of onion flakes (or half a teaspoon of granules)
l 1 teaspoon of garlic flakes (or half a teaspoon of granules)
l half a teaspoon of thyme
l quarter teaspoon of crushed rosemary
l quarter teaspoon of oregano
l black pepper, to taste
l 1 pinch of cumin
l 1 bay leaf
l 1 pinch of chili flakes
l 2-3 cups of water
1. Throw all ingredients in a zip-lock bag.
2. At your campsite, add water.
3. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
8. Sausage Stew
A beauty of a dish that won’t make its way into any weight-loss program anytime soon but is sure to feature at the top of your list of future campsite meals as soon as that first spoonful touches your tasters!
l Cooking oil
l 5 sausages
l 2 chopped onions
l 2 sliced carrots
l 10 small new potatoes, chopped in half, or 2 large potatoes diced
l 1 pint of beef stock
l 1 can of beer
l 1 bottle of cider
l Worcestershire sauce
l Pinch of thyme
l Pinch of salt
1. Place your Dutch oven on a low heat and add the oil.
2. Lightly sauté the onions.
3. Place the sausages on a grill near the flames until the skin browns.
4. Add the sausages, stock, beer, cider, thyme, and Worcestershire sauce.
5. Bring to the boil, cover, then leave to simmer for 45-50 minutes.
6. Add the veg and then cook for another 30 minutes.
Camping can bring with it a number of mild hardships and discomforts. However, the above list has shown, we hope, that what we eat needn’t be one of them. Rather than a simple assortment of possible mealtime options to explore on your next camping trip, we hope this collection of 8 sumptuous stews becomes a tick list of campsite mealtime staples that will warm your tummies and wow your taste buds for many years to come!
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The All-Outdoors Guide team is comprised of enthusiastic experts that enjoy helping others that aspire to be better at outdoor fun. Part of that is making sure you have the right gear and information when it’s time to go out and have fun. Some of our team have accomplished amazing feats like climbing 6000 feet to the top of mountains, others have explored every dirt trail they could find and we even have some people that have backpacked solo on various continents. No matter what our readers want to learn and do, our team is here to help them accomplish those goals.