I love cooking at home, and at camp. For me, the ritual of food preparation and sharing is a great way to wind down after a day of adventure. And, there’s nothing more satisfying and comforting to top off a cool, crisp day of fall perfection than a warm, hearty meal you can enjoy with friends around the campfire. One of our favorites is a camp-friendly pot of jambalaya. This recipe is adapted from one my dad cooks, which we have modified to suit our New Mexican-food-loving palates. It makes a lot (8 large servings) but it easily divides into a one-third recipe for two or three. I use a cast iron Dutch oven over our propane camp stove, but the recipe would work fine in a standard camping pot (or in a Dutch oven over the coals, if that’s your preferred heat source). And, ingredients can be easily varied based on your tastes.
What goes in it:
• 2/3 cup olive oil (or bacon drippings, if you have them hanging around from breakfast …)
• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 1/2 cup seeded and chopped Hatch New Mexico green chiles (or more, if you crave the burn)
• 3 celery stalks, chopped
• 5 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
• 1 lb ham, cut into bite sized pieces
• 1 lb Andouille sausage, cut into bite sized rounds
• 1/2 lb chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
• 2 1/4 cups long grain white rice
• 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
• 3 cups beef stock
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (I load it up)
• 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
• 12 green onions, chopped
• 1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley (I used the freeze-dried stuff for camping)
How to cook it:
• In a heavy large (at least 5 qt) Dutch oven, warm olive oil or drippings over medium heat.
• Add onions, green chiles, celery, and garlic; cook until vegetables are wilted and transparent, about 5 minutes.
• Add meats; cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is lightly browned (about 5 minutes).
• Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is light golden brown (about 5 minutes).
• Add tomatoes, stir until combined, and cook 2 minutes.
• Stir in stock, add seasonings.
• Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until rice is tender and no liquid remains, about 45 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary.
• Add green onions and parsley.
• Cover and cook 5 minutes.
Serve with cornbread and your favorite cold beverage of choice!
A little prep work goes a long way if you have time to dice and bag up the meats and veggies separately before your trip. This makes cooking it a cinch – just dump each bag in as needed while you’re cooking. And, you’ll be rewarded with an easy cleanup at the campsite
I hope you enjoy, and I’d love to hear some of your favorite camping recipes!