Making a one-pot meal in a Dutch oven is a campfire staple: It frees up the cook to sip whiskey and trade stories while pretending to be hard at work. This chicken quesadilla pie comes from O.A.R.S. guides on Oregon’s Rogue River (oars.com), where it’s made in gargantuan quantities. This version serves 10 to 12, and it’s as easy as falling off the log you’re sitting on while claiming to cook.
5 lb. chicken breasts, cut into stir‑fry-size chunks
2 medium sweet yellow onions, chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1 large yellow squash, cubed
1 19-oz. can enchilada sauce
25 small corn tortillas
2 lb. shredded cheddar-jack cheese
1 16-oz. can black beans
1 16-oz. can corn kernels
3 boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix
1 cup milk
Step 1: Sauté chicken, onions, green pepper, and squash.
Step 2: In a 14-inch Dutch oven, layer enchilada sauce, tortillas, cheese, canned ingredients, and cooked chicken-and-vegetables mixture.
Step 3: Mix cornbread according to box instructions, and spread over the top.
Step 4: Bake for 1 hour using six to eight coals on the bottom and a tight ring of coals around the top.
Used to be, a meal in the woods involved a marriage of basic elements: wood and flame, meat and fire-blackened iron. We’re not saying that today’s campfire gourmands are lesser outdoorsmen than, say, a French voyageur who could make a meal out of a hunk of beaver rump and a little seasoning scraped from a salt lick. But there’s something about the basic application of heat to grub that transcends a backcountry meal dolled up with polenta and chervil.
Here are four ways to use fire to soothe the ravenous ogre that’s set up shop in your belly. Some harken back to days of leather-fringed yore. A few involve ingredients slightly more basic than cream of mushroom soup. But not a one requires that you flash-sauté or prepare a demi-glace or—for the love of jerky—wet-roast a squab. Just fire up the coal bed, brother, and dig in.