Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Camping Soup

As I mentioned in the previous post, if I’m going to go camping, I’d like there to be some good food at the campsite. When getting ready for a recent camping trip, not only was I trying to put together a couple of good meals, but I also had to use up some ingredients in the refrigerator that I didn’t want to have greeting me in an altered form when I got back home. Among them were some beautiful fresh spinach from the CSA farm and some Italian turkey sausage. Since the weather was going to be reasonably cool and we planned to hike as much as we could, I figured a nice hearty soup would be welcome. The rest of the ingredients I needed were easily on hand, and all I had to do was take the time to make the soup.

Once the soup was cooked and cooled, I froze it in zip-top freezer bags (I double bag to guard against leaks) that I put in the cooler when packing for the trip. The frozen soup not only kept edible longer, but also helped to keep the rest of the food in the cooler nice and cold. I have a propane camp stove, so reheating the soup was trivial, especially since I actually remembered to bring a kettle. And it was as great as I hoped after a long day of hiking beautiful wooded trails.

I used fire-roasted tomatoes in this soup, which bumped up the campfire ambience, but you could use regular diced tomatoes, or even stewed tomatoes. I suppose you could use a spicier sausage, but I find that soups can get very spicy very easily, and the sweet sausage was quite flavorful. I ended up adding a bit of olive oil to the sausage when browning it for the soup because it was quite lean. If you find that your sausage is rendering enough fat to keep it from sticking to your pan (or if your pan has a particularly slick surface), you could leave it out.

We tend to think of nutrient-dense food like trail mix or granola bars as good hiking/camping food. My theory that soup would also fill that role seems to be sound. It was great to relax over a hot bowl along with some toasted whole wheat bread, and replenish the body after a good, hard day of hiking in the outdoors, as well as replenish what was taken by the mosquitoes.

Sausage and Spinach Soup
Since the salt content of chicken broth and canned tomatoes can vary, go easy on the salt initially, then add salt to taste as needed.

½ cup chopped onion
8 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed if necessary
1 tablespoon olive oil, optional
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
2 medium celery ribs, finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
½ teaspoon coarse (kosher) salt
4 cups chicken broth (I used reduced sodium)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 dried bay leaf
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
additional salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the onion and sausage in a large pot or Dutch oven and cook over medium heat. Add the olive oil if the sausage does not have enough fat to keep it from sticking to the pot. Cook, crumbling the sausage into small pieces, until the sausage is browned.

2. Stir in the carrot, celery, red bell pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook about 1 minute more.

3. Add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes (do not drain them), oregano, basil and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 20-30 minutes.

4. Remove the bay leaf. Stir in the spinach and cook, uncovered a few more minutes, or until the spinach wilts. Taste the soup and add salt, pepper or other seasonings if needed.

Makes 4-6 servings

Another recipe like this one: Tomato and Roasted Pepper Soup

1 comment:

  1. When I was a kid during my childhood I used to absolutely adore backpacking with my dad and mom and my cub scout.
    Now I have my very own loved ones all of us love tenting together.

    It is indeed a fantastic pass time!
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