It's May and, despite the long fingers of winter still doing their best to cling on, the weather is by-and-large improving. For the next six months the light is green for living a more complete life outdoors - eating, sleeping and doing all of the fun stuff in-between out in the fresh air. So, over the summer months, I hope to drop in a few posts featuring recipes that are best enjoyed when prepared and eaten outside - and I'm going to get the ball rolling with a dish that I have a personal (and so far unbroken) rule to never cook and consume under a roof: Camp Stove Hash.
Camping food often falls into two categories: dehydrated or boil-in-the-bag "mystery meals" that were invented for astronauts and are now eaten by kids on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, or food that doesn't need a lot of preparation or cooking like tinned ravioli, packet couscous and stale sandwiches. Camp stove hash is another story, with easily transportable ingredients that make a brightly-coloured meal that I'd probably pick off a cafe menu if given half a choice. It's a two stage process though - so the first stage can be done at home before setting off if you anticipate working up a hunger and wanting to refuel as swiftly as possible. Prior preparation and all that…
Stage 1: Potato Wedges
- Potatoes - quartered lengthways, par-boiled, dusted with salt, pepper and a heap of paprika and then shallow-fried in batches until crispy.
- Equipment: Camp stove, pan, pocket knife and a wooden spoon. Fork and fresh air to eat with.
- Ingredients: Potato wedges (see stage 1), onion (optional), chorizo sausage (the ready to eat sort), small bottle of cooking oil or butter, bag of spinach, salt, pepper and paprika.
- Method: Find a level, sheltered, spot out of the wind and get your camp stove lit. Heat a touch of oil and roughly cut your onion straight into the pan taking care not to add any bits of finger or a thumb to the ingredients. Soften. Cut the chorizo into slices about as thick as a pound coin and add these, allowing them to release their bright red oil and crispen up. Tip in as many potato wedges as you want to balance out the dish or satisfy your hunger and stir the whole lot together, breaking down the wedges a bit and combining all of the ingredients - add a little more paprika at this point if you fancy it. Heat through. Add spinach a handful at a time, stirring it in and allowing it to wilt down before adding a bit more. Season to taste. Keep over the heat for a few minutes then share it straight from the pan.