Become a Backcountry Gourmand

Photographer: Laurie Ann March

Forget the gorp
By: Frederick Reimers
Backcountry meal

Better than trail mix

If you wouldn’t eat it at home, why eat it in the backcountry? That’s the principle Laurie Ann March, author of A Fork in the Trail, bases her recipes upon. This one requires a dehydrator.

Dehydrated Moroccan Chicken with Sweet Potatoes
Dehydration Time: 7–10 hours
Makes 4–6 servings

One of my first wilderness cooking students lived in Morocco part of her life and shared some interesting stories with me. Her experiences inspired this dish.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium sweet potato
1 small onion
1 large carrot
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
3 fresh plum tomatoes
1 small yellow zucchini
1 small green zucchini
6 dried apricots
1 inch fresh ginger root
1 cup canned chickpeas
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 saffron threads
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

At Home
Cut the chicken into small chunks. Dice sweet potatoes, mince the onion, and chop the carrots. Put the olive oil in a heavy pot on medium heat. Brown chicken chunks then add the sweet potato, onion, and carrot. Then pour in the chicken stock to cover. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

While that is simmering, chop the tomatoes, zucchini, and apricots. Grate the ginger. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add all these ingredients, as well as the lemon juice, honey, and seasoning. Let simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the meal from heat and let cool.

Measure what you will dry and write this measurement on a sticky note. Place the food on lined dehydrator trays and dry for 7 to 10 hours. Put the dried ingredients and the note in a ziplock freezer bag.

At Camp
Add enough boiling water to the chicken mixture in a pot to equal the measurement on your sticky note. Be sure to account for and add your dried ingredients to the rehydration container prior to adding the water. You can always add more water if you need to. Let the pot sit for at least an hour or until fully hydrated, then reheat. Serve with French bread or pitas.

If the chicken doesn’t rehydrate completely soaking in boiling water, simmer it over medium heat for a few minutes before serving. Vegetarian option: substitute vegetable stock for chicken and increase vegetables by 1 1/2 cups or add 3/4 cup TVP.

For full article, visit: Become a Backcountry Gourmand

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