Monday, July 6, 2009

Camping & Cooking - Hamburger Stew

One really simple way to have some yummy, healthy food is to freeze leftovers at home, take them with you (use the frozen food in your cooler to save on ice and keep other things cool), and heat it back up when you're ready for it. We did that this time with Hamburger Stew.

~Cooking on the campfire~

HAMBURGER STEW - recipe from

1 1/2 lbs hamburger meat - I used two pounds of local, pasture-raised hamburger
1/2 tablespoon instant minced garlic - I minced up at least 5 cloves myself
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
4 potatoes, cubed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can carrots, undrained - I used fresh, organic carrots here (NOT canned!)
1 (14 ounce) can green beans, undrained - I drained mine
1 (14 ounce) can corn, undrained
1 (14 ounce) can peas, undrained
1 (4 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained -- For these last two ingredients, I didn't have them on hand. Instead I used up a couple cups worth of homemade ketchup (it is NOT like store-bought!!). It was a wonderful substitution.

~Since I was lacking all things fresh on hand, I did use canned goods when making this. If you wanted to use all fresh veggies from your garden or farmer's market I would say "go for it!". Just make yourself up some nice beef stock, and add some of that in to substitute for the lack of water from the cans.

To Cook -- Starting at Home!:
Brown your beef in a skillet, along with the the other first four ingredients. When it's browned, combine it along with the remaining ingredients in a nice stock-pot. Over a medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occaisionally.
Obviously, you could make this while camping. If you were going to do so, I would definitely use fresh ingredients (picked up at the Farmer's Market on your way out!), and take along some pre-made frozen beef stock to add to the mix. If you're going to do it this way, you already know what you need to bring, so I don't feel a need to go through the steps.

We ate this for dinner one night at home, then I froze the leftovers. I find old yogurt containers really wonderful for freezing stuff for camping. Not the tiny ones mind you, no I'm talking about the 32oz (2 lb) containers. Freeze and label!
We take a small saucepan with us camping. This is one reason I like the yogurt containers - they're round and taller than they are wide. This allows the food to slide out fairly easily, and you don't have to worry about frozen, square edges that don't fit in your saucepan. If it's taller than your saucepan, it'll "melt" down as it cooks without making a mess.

To reheat for camping:
Get your coals going nice and hot. If you will notice in the photo above, we didn't use a grill over our fire for this. We often don't. We were able to balance this nicely on the logs, over the flames. Since this was a dinner meal, we had the bigger logs in there for to start building the fire for the night. Morning times you don't want as big a fire, it would be a waste of wood. Here it is all good.
You'll need to let this cook for about 15 minutes or so. I didn't have a watch (I was camping and relaxing, give me a break!), so I can't be precise. It will boil and sizzle, so stir it. It will take a little longer than you think to reheat this nicely. Do taste tests every time you stir it up. You don't want the bottom to burn before everything has had a chance to thaw.

This was definitely a nice dinner to have. Lots of veggies, great hamburger flavor too. I really liked the use of the homemade ketchup, but wouldn't dare substitute store-bought!! You can add extra veggies to this as you would like. To be honest, I wasn't too sure about the addition of green beans, but really liked them.
Try it and see what you think.

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