Photo by Travis Rathbone
Several years ago, on a fishing trip in Brazil, the camp cook served me a mysterious bowl of meat and rice. “We call this arroz de carreteiro,” the cook said, translating that as “trucker’s rice” and explaining it this way: The meat was dried beef, or jerky, which, cooked with rice, made for a simple meal for long-haul truckers to prepare when traversing Brazil’s wide open spaces, where fresh ingredients can be hard to come by. Easy and addictive, it has since become my camping staple.
REMOVE THE JERKY __from the water, then dice into fine cubes. Heat the oil over medium heat in a medium-size pot or Dutch oven, then add the onion. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent and limp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the jerky and tomato, raise the heat to high, and continue to cook, stirring, for about another minute. Add some freshly ground black pepper. Add the rice and bay leaf and stir to coat the rice with the oil, then add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until nearly all the water is absorbed, about 16 minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit for about 5 minutes.
SOAK THE JERKY for several hours—1 hour, at the very least—to rehydrate. Cover entirely with water. Changing the water once or twice will help reduce the saltiness.
WHEN THE RICE IS READY, __gently stir in the parsley. Taste for salt; the jerky should provide enough saltiness, but add more if desired. In Brazil, this is often spiked with generous dashes of molho à campanha, or hot sauce; try it with a dose of Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce.
8 oz. venison (or beef) jerky
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tomato, peeled and chopped
2 cups long-grain rice
1 bay leaf
4 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste