Sloppy Joes. It doesn’t initially make people’s mouths water. There’s a certain skepticism about the idea. Sloppy Joes? That’s what they served in the cafeteria. When they ran out of real food. Adam Sandler. It’s just bad. But we decided to try it anyway in our dutch oven, camped along our favorite spot on the Eel River, and guess what? It was damn good! And our friends even had seconds. So there. Recipe below.
12″ dutch oven
2.5 lbs ground beef
2 tablespoons butter
half a large onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups of ketchup
1 cup of water
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt + pepper
Buns of your choice
A lot of this you can prepare at home so you have it ready to go to toss into your hot dutch oven. So at home dice your onion, green pepper and garlic and throw into a ziplock. Also at home combine in another bag the brown sugar, chili powder, and red pepper flakes. Get your fire nice and hot with a good bed of embers. Find a snug spot for your dutch oven and get it heated, which only takes a minute, but make sure it’s not getting too much direct flame.
Melt the butter in the dutch oven, then add your ground beef and cook/stir it until it’s all brown. Try to drain most of the fat if possible. Then add in the contents of your onion/pepper/garlic bag, and let these cook until they are getting soft. Squeeze in your ketchup, and then add in the seasoning bag, salt + pepper to taste, Worcestershire sauce, and the water. Stir this all up and then let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Now you are ready to feast. Toast up your rolls on the fire and top them with a helping of Sloppy Joe. Take a big messy bite, and enjoy!
One of our favorite things to cook in cast iron is cornbread. This time we decided to try it out over the fire to go with an easy-speedy version of Chicken Gumbo. Now Gumbo Purists may scoff, but for a fast, flavorful and we think quite tasty stew cooked over a fire, this does the trick. The spice heats up your body real fast, making this great for a chilly night.
Chicken & Okra Gumbo
12″ Dutch Oven
cutting board or cardboard
medium heat fire
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2-4 tablespoons of secret Gumbo spice, depending on how spicy you want it
2 red bell peppers, chopped [tip: chop these, onions and garlic at home so it’s ready to go]
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt + pepper
4cups water or chicken broth
1 package (10 ounces) frozen, cut okra
1 package of smoked andouille sausage (precooked), chopped into half-rounds
1 rotisserie chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), meat shredded – remove skin and bones [do this at home too]
Place the Dutch Oven in the fire, where it’s over decent heat but not ragingly hot. Heat up the oil then add the flour and a few pinches of the Gumbo Spice to make your roux, and keep stirring it constantly until golden (this happens quickly over the heat, about a minute or two). Add in the red peppers, onion, garlic and oregano, season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Add 4 cups of water or chicken broth to the mix. Add the Okra in. At this point if you have vegans or vegetarians with you, let this cook for a bit (add more spice, salt and pepper to flavor), and then let them eat. Then add in the sausage, and let that cook for about 10 minutes to let the flavor set in. Lastly, add in the shredded chicken. Once it’s fully warm, dig in and serve with a piece of fresh cornbread (see below for recipe).
Click below for full cornbread recipe and more photos!