The Piedmont Virginian Road Trip: the Camping Issue

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What’s for dinner It doesn’t have to be just hot dogs STORY, PHOTOS, AND RECIPES BY KAITLIN HILL


s weather cools and leaves change, many Piedmont Virginians load their packs and head outside for a weekend of camping in our region’s great outdoors. Whether hiking, fishing, or simply sleeping under the stars is calling your name, here are a few recipes you can cook at your campsite as fuel for your adventure. My Easy Campfire Chili, Cast Iron Cornbread, and Apple Crumb Foil Packets all come together more easily than assembling a tent, and can be cooked over smoldering embers or a portable propane stove. Or maybe you prefer to stay home and appreciate nature from your kitchen window. Don’t worry, the oven works too. If you are going to take these recipes for a hike, I recommend doing the prep work of chopping and measuring at home, so after a long day of outdoor exploration, you just have to heat your pan, mix the ingredients, and dust off your spork before digging in.



6 slices of bacon, chopped ½ yellow onion, diced 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped 1½ tablespoons of chili powder 1 tablespoon of cumin 2 teaspoons of garlic powder 1 teaspoon of paprika salt, to taste 1 pound of ground beef 3 tablespoons of tomato paste 1 can (14 ounces) of fire-roasted tomatoes 2 cans (14 ounces each) of pinto beans 2 cups of chicken broth Directions

Prepare ahead at home: 1. Measure out all the spices and mix together 2. Pre-chop the, bacon, onion, and jalapeño. 3. Store in easy plastic containers or ziplocks to transport to campsite.


| AUTUMN 2020

At the campsite: 1. If cooking outside, place a 10-inch cast iron skillet over still-hot embers; otherwise, over a burner set at medium heat. Add the bacon. 2. Cook the bacon until crispy and remove from the pan. Set aside and reserve. 3. Add the chopped onion and jalapeño. Cook for 4 – 6 minutes (depending on your heat source) until the vegetables are tender. 4. Add the pre-measured spice mix and a generous pinch of salt and cook for a minute until fragrant. 5. Put the ground beef in the hot pan and break it up with a spoon. Season with salt and cook until completely browned, about 8 – 10 minutes (depending on your heat source). 6. Add the tomato paste, fire-roasted tomatoes, beans, bacon, and broth. 7. Simmer the chili for 30 – 40 minutes 8. Enjoy immediately with your favorite toppings. Cook’s Note: If you prefer your chili on the milder side, just add a little less of the spice mixture or omit the jalapeño.

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