Sunday, July 07, 2013

Camp Cooking: Dutch oven Potatoes and Mountain Man Breakfast

Camp cooking, as in real life cooking, can be made even better by squeaking 2 meals out of know, make the Thanksgiving turkey, and then follow it up leftovers later in the week with turkey soup .  I just remembered this recipe - I am going to have to make it with my left over roast chicken I am planning to make later this week.  It's a great recipe.  But let's get back to camp....the next recipe to try is potatoes for dinner.   Potatoes are a little harder than chili because there is no liquid in them, but just remember to count coals and rotate the lid and oven every 15 minutes and you will be fine.

Dutch Oven Potatoes
serves 4 people with some leftovers
12 inch Dutch oven

6 Russet potatoes, cut in 1 inch cubes
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
kosher salt (to taste)
1 t. dried rosemary (optional) 

Heat 24  charcoal briquettes in a charcoal chimney until they're gray.   Meanwhile cut up the potatoes and mince the garlic.   In the Dutch oven, mix potatoes, garlic oil and salt.  Also good is to add some rosemary, if you have it in your camp box.   Cook for 30 minutes in a dutch oven with 9 charcoals on the bottom, 15 on top, rotating the lid and oven every 15 minutes.    Save a cup or so for breakfast the next morning - store in camp cooler.

Making eggs in a Dutch oven is a little bit harder because they can burn fairly easily.   But this recipe is a camp favorite of my family, as well as every Boy and Girl Scout I've had the pleasure to camp with.   Just keep an eye on them and they will come out perfect.   Plus the smell of the bacon, onions and peppers cooking will draw even the teenagers used to sleeping in until high noon out of their tents.  The bugler will not even have to blow Reveille to get them up.

Mountain Man Breakfast
serves 4
12 inch oven

1/2  lb bacon, diced*
1 green pepper, diced*
cloves garlic
1 onion, diced*
1 cup leftover potatoes from the night before, or small bag of frozen hash browns
8 eggs, beaten lightly
1 cup cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

*can dice and freeze at home before the trip

Heat a full chimney of charcoal briquette until gray. Put about half in the fire pit, and cook bacon until brown, stirring often.  Don't put the lid on.   Add some more coals - leaving some in the chimney to start heating 15 coals to use later.   Cook the vegetables, cook until soft, stirring often.  If using frozen hash browns, add them now and heat until they are thoroughly thawed.  Check the heat on the coals - if you can't keep your hand above it for 5 seconds, it's too hot.  Spread some of the coals out to cool things off a little.  

Add eggs and cheese and leftover potatoes, if not using hash browns, and  salt and pepper and replace lid. Top with 15 coals and cook for 20 minutes or until eggs are done.  Rotate lid and oven halfway through - checking to see if the eggs are burning.  If things seem to be getting a little too hot, you can always take the lid off but remember, Dutch ovens retain heat even after you take them off the coals, so it's always better to err on the side of caution.   Sometimes, I will cook the eggs until they are almost set, but still liquidy in the center, and then take the oven off the coals and take the coals off the lid and replace the lid and let it sit  for 5 minutes or so while I brew a pot of coffee.   They will be done perfectly by the time the coffee is ready. 

Next up, we'll discuss the most difficult part of Dutch oven cooking - the baking.   However, have no fear and count your coals and everything will come out fine.  

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