Campfire Vegetables With Bacon & Prosciutto
Recipe created in partnership with Riverbend Gardens x their CSA program
Campfire cookery is something that I don’t talk about much - read at all - on here for a few reasons. Usually, when it happens I’m camping and therefore I don’t have my camera with me. Even this particular post is quite light on images because I got caught up in the moment. I was cooking, tending the fire, chatting with friends & enjoying myself so much that I almost didn’t snap any photos at all!
There sure is a lot going on when you cook on an open flame, but I promise you that if I can do it so can you!
A few tips to get you started:
Grab a cast iron pan & some oven gloves.
There is nothing that says camping more than a cast iron pan. You can essentially put it straight into the fire without having to worry about it melting or becoming completely singed. There are definitely better grades of cast iron pans out there, but mine is simply from our local wholesale club. It was inexpensive and it’s serving us well.
And the oven gloves, I’ve yet to find an easier way to handle a blistering hot cast iron pan! If you have a better trick however, I’m all ears!
Load up with fats & use the fats you have available.
Camping is all about using what you’ve got. So to make this dish I simply used what we had on hand. In this case: bacon, Prosciutto & butter. I didn’t have any oil to keep my butter from burning, but I used it anyway. I started with the bacon because I knew it would yield the most fat & flavor, then I crisped up the prosciutto in it and added butter to keep that fatty goodness going.
Maybe it sounds excessive, but it was truly a delight and given how much produce when through the pan, it didn’t wind up as oily as one might think.
Do it in stages - prevents burning (mostly)
We had two pans going. One was used to cook - the cast iron - and one was set on the edge of the fire to keep things warm - the wok. So the general idea was to cook things in batches and add them to the wok as they became ready.
First, to render out some cooking fat, the bacon & prosciutto.Once they became crispy, I added some mushroom, flavored with herbs & garlic were added to the cast iron. They soaked up most of the fat as they cooked, so I added butter to the cast iron after I had tipped them in the wok.
Then mixed vegetables, in this case, an entire head of broccoli & some zucchini. While all of that happened, I had some potatoes boiling in the camper! Once they were tender, I gave them a quick toss in butter & popped them into the cast iron to coat them in that smokey fire flavor.
MAKES 4 large SIDES
5 lbs potatoes
1 large head of broccoli, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
1 pint chestnut mushrooms, diced
1 bag of arugula
1 head of garlic
3 thick slices of bacon
5-6 slices of prosciutto
3-4 T of butter
Salt to taste
Prep 5 Mins + Cook 30 Mins
I made the potatoes whole, so I boiled them first (which you can do at home before your camping trip). This allowed me to warm them up to ambient temperature as I cooked the other parts and do them last in the cast iron. If you don’t do it ahead of time you can either boil them on site or cut them to bite size chunks for faster cooking.
Place your cast iron in a stable place in the fire, add bacon & let it render out it’s fat.
Add prosciutto and cook until almost crispy, then add mushrooms which will release their water and soak up the fat of the meat
Tip the mixture into a bowl or larger pan at the edge of the fire
Add a bit of butter & the remaining vegetables, cook until the color of the broccoli changes to bright green & you begin to have caramelized bits
Tip the vegetables out of the pan, add remaining butter and move the potatoes around until they are golden to brown on all sides.
While the potatoes cook, add the arugula to the vegetables, mix and allow to wilt
Serve as is or next to your favorite sausage / burger / camp protein!