Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hobo Stew

Um, so yes, this meal is regretfully called "hobo stew."  I'm not really comfortable with this name, but I'm somehow less comfortable with changing it.  If I had children, I might call it "campfire stew" which is more accurate, but less nostalgic for me.  But for YOU, the name most likely pulls on absolutely no childhood memory strings, so YOU are free to call it what you like.

Regardless of what you decide to call it, you must definitely try it the next time you are camping or building an evening bonfire.  It is simple and so campfire scrumptious.

Here's how it works: First, tear out two biggish pieces of aluminum foil, preferably one "heavy duty" and one regular; heavy duty goes on the bottom so that it will be closest to the fire.  Onto this foil pile stew-like foods that sound mouth-watering to you.  Just make sure you have something with a bit of water or juice and some fat or grease (otherwise it all dries out or burns), and lots of seasoning.  My family enjoyed hobo stew at the beach last week and we made ours with canned tomatoes, ground beef (sausage or hotdogs work well, too), carrots, potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, yellow squash, onions and butter.
Mmmm...butter.  My sister-in-law loves butter, and this is one of the things I love about her.  Butter is to cooking is like Jesus is to Sunday school: it's always a good answer.

After you've thrown on all the good food, fold the foil sort of like wrapping a present.  Fold two sides in and roll them over each other to secure, then fold the ends in several times.  If you have campers who are choosy eaters, you can easily distinguish their more boring and less delicious hobo stew package by writing their name in permanent marker.

Throw the foil-wrapped packages of goodness onto the coals (not big open flames--wait until you have some nice burning embers) and leave them there to cook.  Depending on their size, they will take 20-30 minutes.  To check, unwrap a bit and poke a fork in to see if the veggies are tender and the meat looks cooked.  It's handy at this point to have an oven mit and a pair of tongs.  It's possible to retrieve your dinner with nearby sticks, but they are much more likely to get dropped into the sand or dirt this way, so I don't recommend it.

There you go.  I hope you enjoy my family's tradition, and happy camping!

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