beef-chili-bowl

Some like it hot: cooking the perfect winter chili

In today’s post, Chef Deb Rankine, a.k.a. The Fridge Whisperer, shares her favourite campfire chili recipes.

Chili is perfect winter camping fare.

Cook it low ’n slow in a cast iron Dutch oven set over smoldering embers, or on a gas barbecue over indirect heat with the lid down. Or — if you’re on a serviced site — in a slow cooker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Today’s recipes use everyday pantry ingredients that are easily sourced and, for the most part, require no refrigeration.

Pro Camper Tip

Place fresh ground beef in a zippered freezer food storage bag. Flatten it out into an even layer so that no air pockets remain. Close, freeze, then place it in the bottom of your cooler and set frozen corn kernel package on top. Not only will the frozen beef act as a freezer bag, but it will keep the corn frozen and allow the meat to thaw gently, ready when you are to make the chili.

Campfire tex-mex beef chili (serves 8)

beef-chili-bowl

  • 2 pounds (907g) lean ground beef
  • 1 package (55g) dried onion soup mix
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 EACH red and green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers (from a can of chipotle in adobe sauce), minced
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon EACH salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1 (19 oz/560g) can red kidney, drained and rinsed
  • 1 package (10 oz/284g) frozen corn kernels
  • 1 (28 oz/794g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (28 oz/794g) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups canned beef broth

In a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, add beef, soup mix, onion, bell peppers, garlic, chipotle pepper, Worcestershire sauce, chilli powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Mix together until combined, then stir in remaining ingredients.

Set Dutch oven over burning embers of your campfire and cook, covered, until vegetables are tender, beef is thoroughly cooked, and chili has reduced by about 1/3 volume (about 3 hours), stirring occasionally. Add more embers to keep heat under pot at approximately 300°F.

Serve chili immediately. Garnish with sour cream, grated cheddar and sliced green onion, if desired.

Campfire vegetarian 3-bean chili (serves 8)

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers (from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce), minced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 cans (28 oz/794g) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15oz/425g) kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz/425g) black beans, drained
  • 1 can (15 oz/425g) black eyed peas, drained
  • 1 package (10 oz/284g) frozen corn kernels
  • Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, add oil and heat to simmering. Add chili powder and cumin. Cook 2 minutes, stirring often.

Add garlic, chipotle, onion, bell and jalapeno peppers and cook until onion has softened (about 5 minutes), stirring often.

Add tomatoes, kidney and black beans, black eyed peas and corn, and stir to combine. Cover, and cook over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender and chili is thoroughly heated (about 1 hour), stirring occasionally.

Season chili to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Garnish with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro, if desired.

Visit our Outdoor Cooking page and blog posts for more great camping recipes!