OH Yeah!!! I have to say that running a close second to first place fav’ being off-roading, eating comes next. When out on the trails with intent of roughing it for a few days when done playing, I definitely want to eat! Maybe this is a bit off my typical posting but relevant none the less if you ask me. On 4x4wire.com they have these articles by a chef by the name of Chef Mark DeNittis. Has anyone ever heard of him? I hadn’t until now, but generally I am the last to get in the mix of the good stuff, so my lack of knowledge about this chef is not saying much. Anyhow, I read an article he did titled “Trail Bites: A Jeeping Chef’s High Country Hunt Camp”. I am sharing this with you all because he has some great EASY recipes and techniques for on the trail.
Trail Bites: A Jeeping Chef’s High Country Hunt Camp
By: Chef Mark DeNittis – February 2005
As summer drifts away fall aromas fill the air, colder temperatures prevail, and Jeep doors are put back on. It’s hunting season everywhere across America! Although, the past two rifle seasons have not yielded me a trophy elk, deer or bear, the opportunity to be in the high-country wilderness is fulfilling enough. I hunt in northern Colorado, near Willow Creek Pass off of Mulstay Jeep Trail between 9,500-12,000 feet. Walking around at those elevations can be tough enough but having great hearty carbohydrate-packed meals helps considerably when energy levels need to be maintained. Especially — although not in my case yet — to haul out the big game!
I can prepare the following meals at home days in advance, easily cook or reheat and clean-up at camp, after a day of looking and listening for game. Of course the main focus is to KIS (Keep It Simple) for time and cleanup. Also take into consideration keeping things sealed up tight in a “bear-proof” container or out of a bear’s reach. I have a 10×18 foot dome tent that is great. I set up a tarp just outside the opening of the tent as my “Kitchen Area”. In the future when I have more people attend camp I’ll get one of those 10×10 pop up canopies and use tarps for siding to have a kitchen area set up away from living and sleeping quarters.
Weekend Hunt Camp Menus
• Breakfasts usually consist of egg, cheese and sausage burritos, and Instant Oatmeal.
• Lunches: Sandwiches of Luncheon Meat
• Dinner: Dale’s Pale Ale Hunt Camp Beef Stew, Penne Pasta Bolognese, Cajun Country Dirty Rice, North-woods Rib-eye Steak with German Style Beer Braised Potatoes and Cabbage.
Trail Bites Recipe Files
Instant Oatmeal: this is a no-brainer. Follow the directions on the packet. Heat water, add the hot water to the oatmeal mix. I like to make this in a Zip Loc baggie. I usually empty the contents of two instant oatmeal packets into a pint size Zip Loc bag. Put the bag into a coffee cup to hold the shape and keep from burning my hands when I add the liquid. Eat, crumple up the bag when done, and throw into my trash container.
Breakfast Burritos – Serves 3 (Two per person)
• Breakfast Sausage Jimmy Dean Style. (Sage Flavored or Hot are my favorites).
• 1 Small Onion, diced
• 1 Anaheim Chile Pepper, remove seeds and pith, dice fine
• 6 Large Eggs
Over a medium-high flame or heat source cook the sausage. Strain off excess amount of fat from sausage leaving a little (about 3 Tbs.) to cook the onions, peppers, and eggs in. Add the onions to cook until soft. Add the eggs, scramble, cook until soft. Set aside in refrigerator let cool.
• 2 Tbs. Oil or melted butter.
• 2 Potatoes Yukon Gold Washed, Shredded
Cook in butter or oil until golden brown, set aside to let cool.
• lb Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
• 6 12-inch flour tortillas
Method of Preparation:
Once all of the cooked items have cooled you can begin to assemble. Divide all the ingredients between the 6 tortillas. Roll as in the pictures, then roll in a paper towel, finally roll in Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil. Place in freezer until time to leave for camp. The paper towel absorbs any excess moisture to keep the burrito dry as it reheats and can be used as a napkin.
On the trail:
Heat in a skillet to an internal temperature of 165F (about 10-15 minutes). I would start them before I put the coffee on. Another great way would to be to heat them on the engine block as you are driving to your hunting area.
Dale’s Pale Ale Hunt Camp Stew (Serves 2 – 4)
A Huge Voluminously Hoppy Mutha of a Pale Ale as quoted on this canned Rocky Mountain Pale Ale made at Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado, is used to make this hearty and flavorful stew. Although this stew can be made at home (and typically stews are better the second time around – (Encore Presentations), I chose to precut all the ingredients at home to be able to prepare this dish at camp. Although not in the first attempt as can be seen in the picture! I have incorporated sour cream into the recipe to mellow some of the heat from the black pepper and hoppy flavor of the beer. This dish is very similar to the Hungarian “porkolt” (goulash style) known as Tokany, a goulash style stew. But instead of paprika, black pepper is the main spice. A plus for black pepper fans and warms the soul on cold late fall hunt trips. Dale’s registers in at 6.5% alcohol by volume, any flatlanders coming out to hunt the high-country elevations be cautious – this beer will “bite you in the boo-boo” to say the least.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The recipe calls for 3 cans of Dale’s Pale Ale. Please realize one can is for the stew, one for during cooking to add flavor to the camp chef and one to enjoy with the meal. On a more serious note – this is of course after all ammunition has been removed from all firearms. Be responsible: loaded guns and alcoholic beverages DO NOT MIX!!!!!
• 1 Tbs Cooking Oil
• 1 lb. Beef Stew Meat
• 3 Cloves Garlic, peel and slice.
• 1 Small Onion, peel and dice thick
• 1-2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
• 3 Cans Dale’s Pale Ale (seriously Hoppy. no joke). If you do not like such intense flavor any beer can be used.
• 8 Oz. Water
• 1 Med Carrot; peel and slice thick
• 1 Med-Large Yukon Gold or Red Bliss Potato; wash and dice into cubes. Leave the skin on for nutrients and presentation.
• 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
• Kosher Salt to taste
Method of Preparation on the trail: If making at home, let mixture cool and portion into Zip Loc bags.
Heat a skillet over med-high heat with oil. Season the meat lightly with salt and pepper, and place into hot skillet. Brown all the meat and add in the garlic, onions and black pepper. Let cook until the onions and garlic are soft. Deglaze (fancy chef lingo meaning add the beer) the skillet with the can of Dale’s while tilting and sipping from the other can. Add the water.
Bring to a boil and then reduce to let simmer for 45 minutes to one hour over low heat. Stir occasionally and tilt and sip from the other can to adequately flavor the camp chef. This will allow the meat to become fork tender and the chef to mellow, relax and take in the great outdoors. Once the meat has become fork tender add in the carrots and potatoes to cook until fork tender for another 10 to 15 minutes. Add more water or beer if it has reduced too much. The sauce should have a semi-smooth consistency.
To finish, slowly stir in the sour cream, adding in 1/3 of the total amount at a time. This tempering step allows for the sauce to become smooth and creamy. Adding in cold sour cream in one big “glop” to a hot liquid may coddle the sour cream and make the sauce gritty. Let simmer to allow the sauce to incorporate flavor and come to a creamy texture. Adjust the taste with salt as needed.
Dig in, while occasionally tilting and sipping the third and final beer with your free hand!!!
North Woods Rib Eye Steak with Beer Braised Potatoes and Cabbage (Serves 1)
• 1 each strip thick slice bacon
• 1 each 16-28 oz. Rib-eye Steak (Prime or Choice Grade). I like beef and in big servings!
• 1 Tbsp. North-woods or Montreal Steak Seasoning
• 1 Tbs. Yellow or White Onion Cut into thin strips
• 1 each Large Yukon Gold or Red Bliss Potato washed and cut into wedges.
• 1 small Carrot Shredded
• 1 cup cabbage, cut into ribbons
• 1 Can Coors Original or other beer favorite
• Salt & Pepper to taste
Method of Preparation on the Trail: I pre-chopped the cabbage, onion, and carrots at home and placed in a baggie for ease on the trail. Season the steak. Heat a skillet and render the bacon. Sear the seasoned rib-eye until browned, flip and sear the other side until cooked through to desired temp (Rare, Medium or Shoe Leather Well). Pull out of pan and set aside. Let the bacon crisp and brown: pull out and set aside for later. Add the onions and potatoes to cook through. Add the cabbage and potatoes. Pour in the can of beer and let simmer until the potatoes have softened. Adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Put the steak back in to warm through. Garnish with crisp bacon. Can be served right in the skillet and eaten up!
Pasta with Meat Sauce (Serves 4 – 6)
• 1 tsp Olive Oil
• 1 Lb. Butcher’s Blend 85/15 (a mixture of ground beef, veal and pork). Ask you local butcher for this or just plain old ground beef will work just fine.
• 1/2 tsp *Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (*optional)
• 6 Cloves Garlic Minced
• 1 Small Onion Diced Fine
• 1 Med-Large Carrot Diced Fine or Shredded
• 2 Tbs. Tomato Paste
• 1 Cup Red Wine such as Burgundy or Barolo
• 1- 27 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
• 1 Each Bay Leaf
• Kosher or Sea Salt to taste
• Black Pepper to taste
• 1 lb. Pasta such as penne or rigatoni. Cooked al dente, cooled, tossed with a light coating of oil to keep from sticking or clumping. Place in Zip Loc bag.
Method of Preparation: In a sauce pot heat oil and add ground meat. Cook to brown the meat, add the (*optional pepper flakes) garlic, onions, and carrots let cook to lightly brown and add in the tomato paste to coat evenly. Deglaze the pan (add the wine to the pan) with the wine and let simmer and reduce by 1/4th. Add in the crushed tomatoes and bay leaf. Let simmer for 45 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Let cool. Once cooled this mixture can be put into Zip Loc bags and frozen for later use.
On the trail: Mix the pasta and sauce in a Zip Loc baggie. Seal tightly and place bag in a pot of boiling water. Cook until hot. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Cajun Country Dirty Rice (Serves 2 – 4)
• 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
• 1/2 Pound Andoullie Sausage Diced Small
• 4 cloves Garlic chopped
• 1 small Onion Diced Small
• 1 Stalk Celery Diced Small
• 1 cup Converted Rice
• 2 cups Water or Canned Chicken Broth
• 1 each 7oz. Package Diced/Cooked Chicken
• *Optional 4 Oz. Cooked Tidi Shrimp in addition to the chicken
• 1 to 5 Dashes of Tabasco
• 3 Each Scallions or Green Onions chopped
• 1/2 Cup Diced Green & Red Bell Pepper
• 1 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Parsley
• Pinch Cayenne
• Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Method of Preparation at Home: I wanted to try the new packaged cooked Tyson Chicken product as it can pack in and out easily. I found the taste to be surprisingly good.
In a heavy bottom pan, heat the oil and cook the Andoullie to extract the flavor and some additional fat. Add in the garlic, onions and celery to cook until soft. Add in the rice, let absorb the oils by stirring. Add in the water or chicken broth. Stir, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and let cook covered until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice fluffs with a fork.
Take off the heat and place in a bowl, mix in the chicken (optional Shrimp), Tabasco, scallions, peppers, chopped parsley and cayenne. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Let cool and then package in Zip Loc bags and freeze until needed.
On the Trail: Place bag in pot of boiling water until heated through.