Campfire Chilli – how hot can you go?
Campfire chilli is a fantastic warming meal that can be enjoyed whichever season you want and is an uncomplicated meal to cook over the campfire.
Campfire chilli is a one pot meal, so is super easy to cook for big groups and requires minimal washing up. Chilli can be vegetarian, or you can make chilli con carne if you’re camping with meat lovers. This blog contains recipes for both.
Cooking on the campfire
When cooking over your campfire, there are a few things it’s important to keep in mind. Let the campfire burn down to the white-hot coals before you start cooking the chilli, as cooking over bare flames will only burn your chilli and blacken the pan.
If you’re cooking in an ordinary pan, you want place it on a grill or rack a couple of inches above the coals to cook over the campfire.
But if you’re cooking in a dutch oven, just place it directly onto some pre-heated coals.
For a similar Mexican inspired dinner that can be cooked in a dutch oven, why not try out this recipe for Dutch oven Enchiladas.
Vegan / Vegetable Chilli
For this simple vegan chilli recipe:
- Start by chopping 2 onions, one red and one green pepper.
- Then fry the onions and peppers in a large pan over your campfire for about 8 minutes.
- Add 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp smoked paprika, two crushed cloves of garlic and either ½ tsp cayenne pepper or a deseeded chopped chilli if you like your chilli spicier.
- Sauté for one minute or until the spices release their aromas.
- Then add one tbsp tomato puree, and cook for another minute.
- Add a tin of chopped tomatoes and a drained 400g tin of cooked green lentils.
- Let it all cook for 30-45 minutes until the liquid has reduced.
- 10 minutes before the end of cooking time, add a can of drained black beans.
- Once the chilli has finished cooking, remove from the heat and sprinkle with some chopped coriander.
This recipe serves 3/4 depending on how big the portions are but is also a great recipe to scale up if you’re cooking for a large group. If you would like to cook for more people, then scale up the ingredients proportionately. The key to scaling up this recipe is just to make sure that you don’t add too many tomatoes, adding 2 tins chopped tomatoes only if you used 3 or 4 peppers.
Pre-preparing the chilli
If you’re super organised and would like to make some meals in advance to take camping with you, then vegetable chilli is a great option. It can be cooked in large quantities and keeps really well. You can make the chilli recipe above, or make good use of your oven, and roast some sweet potato chunks with spices to add to your chilli.
Before you start cooking the chilli, add 2 chopped sweet potatoes to a roasting tin and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and pepper, 1 tsp smoked paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin.
Roast for 25 minutes until cooked.
Then add these sweet potato chunks to the chilli 10 minutes before it has finished cooking.
Chilli con carne
To make this basic chilli con carne:
- Start by heating one tbsp oil in a pan over your campfire.
- Add one chopped onion and cook until translucent, this should take around 5 mins.
- Then add 2 chopped garlic cloves, a chopped red pepper, 1 tsp mild/hot chilli powder, 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp ground cumin.
- Stir to coat the veg in the spices and leave to cook for another 5 mins, stirring once or twice.
- Then add 500g lean minced beef, break up with your spoon and brown the mince in the hot pan until there aren’t any pink bits left.
- Next, crumble one beef stock cube into 300ml hot water and pour the stock into the pan.
- Add one 400g can chopped tomatoes, ½ tsp dried marjoram, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tbsp tomato puree, some salt and pepper and stir.
- Bring to the boil, stir again, and allow the chilli to bubble gently for 20 minutes.
- As the heat of the campfire can be quite hard to control, the chilli could get too hot. If is catching on the bottom of the pot or drying out, just add a few tablespoons of water.
- Once the chilli has been cooking for 20 mins, drain a can of kidney beans, add to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Season, and allow the chilli to stand for 10 minutes before serving to let the flavours to combine.
What to eat with your chilli
You can keep it simple and have your plant-based chilli or chilli con carne on its own in a bowl. But why not also serve with some (plant based) yogurt, cheese, coriander, and a segment of lime on the side.
If you have a bit more time on your hands, you could also make a salsa with chopped tomatoes, onion, coriander and lime juice.
Or you could mash up some avocado, a few tomatoes, lime and coriander to make guacamole to eat with your chilli.
Then you can serve the chilli with rice, either in big bowls for a deconstructed wrap, or in tortillas.
You could also enjoy your chilli with a pitta bread or some tortilla chips.
Another option is to have your chilli with jacket potatoes.
Pierce a sweet or baking potato with a fork. Then wrap in some aluminium foil and bury the potato packet in the coals of your campfire.
Do this before you start cooking the chilli to make sure everything is ready at the same time. Then leave the foil wrapped potatoes in the fire for around 45 minutes (although adjust this time depending on the size of your potatoes, and the temperature of the fire).
Then once they’re cooked, allow to cool and cut open lengthways.
If you prefer, then you could buy pre-cooked jacket potatoes. I find these in the frozen section and are perfect for camping holiday as they take about 20-30 mins in the fire coals for the best jacket potato and no hard uncooked bits.
Fill the baked potatoes with some butter, salt and pepper, and serve with a couple of spoonfuls of chilli.
If you enjoyed making the vegan chilli over your campfire, and would like some more vegan campfire recipes, have a look at Vegan Campfire Food Ideas!
I hope that this blog has given you everything you need to enjoy a tasty dinner of chilli cooked around your campfire. It is the ideal camping dinner for anyone, regardless of dietary requirements, or how much spice you can handle!
Here’s me signing out and thank you so much for reading.