Fluttering leaves. Frosty mornings. Sunny but cool afternoons. Geese flying south for the winter. Autumn brings about fresh weather and an appetite for comfort food. We can’t seem to help wanting to make foodstuffs that are warm, hearty, saucy, and spicy. If you go fall camping, then you get to experience quieter campsites, a different view, and fresh seasonal flavors.
Dutch Oven Stuffed Peppers – Dirty Gourmet
This has long been a family favorite, because of the delectable combination of steaming hot vegetables, hot tomato sauce, and melted cheese. The cooked rice rounds out the ingredients for the inside of the pepper and complements the meat. Serve with crusty bread or garlic bread.
- 6 bell peppers
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the Dutch oven
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 14 ounces ground meat
- 4 cups cooked rice
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 3/4 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar
- Grease your Dutch oven. Get your campfire going and prep it so there is eventually a nice bed of hot coals to place your Dutch oven on.
- Cut the tops off of the peppers. Remove the seeds from the main part of the pepper, and set them aside. Trim the remaining pepper off of the pepper tops. Chop and reserve for stuffing.
- Sauté the onion in olive oil until translucent. Add garlic, mushrooms, and chopped peppers. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the meat and cook for a few minutes more. Mix in the rice and about half the can of tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the stuffing inside of the peppers and then into the Dutch oven. If you have any additional stuffing, you can put it around the peppers (just make sure you greased your Dutch oven well).
- Add the ketchup to the remaining tomato sauce and stir to combine. Spoon some of the tomato sauce mixture on top of the stuffed peppers. Sprinkle the peppers with cheese.
- Place Dutch oven hot coals, making sure it is stable and level. You may have to shift some of the coals around, or add a rock under the Dutch oven to get it just right. Cook the peppers until they’re softened and the stuffing is heated through.
Dutch Oven Chicken Marbella – Fresh Off the Grid
Looking for a specialty dish for an occasion or just something different to try out at the campsite? The Mediterranean-themed Chicken Marbella is that dish. Thanks to the folks at Fresh Off the Grid who did all the heavy lifting, there’s a recipe for this gourmet dish that’s been refined for cooking in a Dutch oven at the campsite. According to them, it’s easy to make and takes only 45 minutes to cook – and it really packs a punch. If you read the complete article, they recommend using chicken thighs, combining the ingredients in a large freezer bag at home to allow the flavors to marinate and cut down on on-site prep work, and not skipping on using white wine. It’s sweet. It’s savory. It’s worth a try.
- 1 cup chopped prunes
- 1 cup olives, pitted and halved
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup capers
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 chicken thighs, skin on
- 1 Tablespoon olive pol
- 4 teaspoons brown sugar
- MARINATE THE CHICKEN: Place all ingredients except for the oil and brown sugar in a freezer bag to marinate. Place in your ice chest for at least 6 hours and up to 48 hours.
- PREP YOUR CAMPFIRE: Prepare 27 coals. You can use wood embers if you must, but you’ll have to guestimate the proper heat ratio (you’re aiming for 425 degrees). Once all the coals are ready, knock them into a flat pile and place Dutch oven on top of all of them. This will produce the high heat required for browning.
- BROWN THE CHICKEN: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the Dutch oven. The oil is hot and ready when a drop of water instantly sizzles when it hits the pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and dust 1 teaspoon brown sugar over the skin side of each thigh. Brown the thighs skin side down over high heat until the skin is crispy and deep golden brown, about 6-8 minutes. Flip to brown the other side, 2 minutes.
- BAKE: Remove Dutch oven from heat. Add the marinade (liquid, prunes, olive, capers and all!) to the Dutch oven and cover. Evenly distribute 18 coals on the lid and set the Dutch oven on a bed of nine coals. Bake for 30 minutes, until the thighs are cooked through and their juices run clear when pierced with a knife.
- SERVE & ENJOY: Serve over couscous, rice, or pilaf with some of the sauce spooned over the top.
Peach Cobbler – Brit, Co.
Finally, a dessert that’s one-stop for cooking and eating and required very little preparation. Using a few store-bought ingredients and a campfire or grill, you have a warm, sweet dessert that’s ready to enjoy in about 10 minutes.
- 1 large jar of peaches, with syrup
- 2 biscuits
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- whipped cream
- aluminum tin
- aluminum foil
- Slice the peaches and place into aluminum tin. Add ½ of the peach syrup.
- Combine sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the peaches.
- Crumble the biscuits on top of the peaches.
- Add one final thin layer of peaches and top with the cinnamon mixture.
- Cover and cook on the grill for 10 minutes.
Red Wine Hot Chocolate – The Adventure Bite
This is not your grandma’s hot chocolate. Red wine and hot chocolate are delicious in their own right, but combining them is a game-changer. The depth of flavor of the red wine transforms this childhood favorite into an adult beverage that’s suitable for cold fall nights.
- 2 cup red wine
- 2 tbs cocoa powder
- 2 tbs sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 cups milk
- hint of salt
- Whisk the cocoa powder, sugar, and cinnamon together in a large saucepan.
- Add the milk and red wine and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until hot and smooth, about 5 minutes.