It is the difficult decisions that often are the hardest to make. As space was limited during our traverse to the wilderness, I was tasked with selecting to include on our primitive adventure either the gi-normous frying pan or Mrs. Chili365. On one hand, the ridiculously- proportioned pan would allow for the genesis of another epic camping breakfast chili. On the other hand, Mrs. Chili365 is more attentive to the children and is (generally) a better conversationalist. Regardless, this weekend’s wilderness excursion has brought us substantially nearer to Canada. This near proximity may inspire the good missus to assist me in hatching the ultimate in Canadian chili. If not, that’s okay too. Mrs. Chili365 can protect me and the “skillet campfire chili” from the bears who are prowling the area. (Seriously- Mrs. Chili 365 is small and beautiful but tough. When necessary, she’s been known to drag me great distances.)
The skillet campfire chili is a graceful yet standard chili offering. Prepared over a roaring fire, the heartiness of sausage and beef is seared with tomato and chili goodness. Beans and salsa round out the cast of loveably delicious characters. Provided I don’t char a hand or foot in making this culinary tour de force, this likely will go down as a first rate chili.
1 pound ground beef
1 pound spicy ground pork sausage
16 oz tomato sauce
3 T chili powder
1 t paprika
1 t onion flakes
1 t Northwoods seasoning (Penzey’s)
1 2/3 C mild salsa
1 can pork and beans
1 can cannellini beans
- Build a fire.
- Place tripod over the fire and place small skillet over the fire. (Admit it, you’d also have a tough time choosing between a gargantuan pan and your wife. Just remember to choose thoughtfully and carefully).
- Brown the meats in the skillet.
- Spoon off the excess fat.
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer over the fire for 20-30 minutes.
- Warning, fires are smoky and may dry the throat, have plenty of beer on hand.
Never before have experienced writing adjacent to a campfire next to a majestic lake. This is living. As it happens, I didn’t need the huge pan to make chili but, in fact, I did need Mrs. Chili365. She is something of a very efficient pyromaniac and thus built a fantastic cooking fire. The chili was tre’ excellante’. The smokiness imparted by the cooking fire added a dimension to the chili that was welcomed and much enjoyed. After a morning of kayaking, swimming, and running through the woods, this recipe conjured forth an excellent meal. The extended family ITP gave the chili a huge thumbs up. This dish was worth the singed knuckle hairs and threat of black bear attack. If I am now able to outsprint the bears during my training run, I’ll have the skillet campfire chili to thank.