Monday, August 3, 2015

Maria's Campfire Slovakian Goulash

In this day and age we often get caught up in the latest kitchen gadgets.  I have done a fair bit of campfire cooking in my time, from soups and stews to a boiled pudding made in a bag on a mountaintop.  However, it has been a while.  A visit to a friend's house this weekend was a good reminder of how great - and simple - campfire cookery can be.  This is the second year Maria has made us her traditional Slovakian version of goulash while we visited.  It is more like a meaty soup than the recipe we make, and each time the recipe is a bit different, and equally delicious.  The quantities and ingredients are variable, the results are uniformly excellent.

Stewing Beef
Flank Steak
Hanger Steak
Pork Shoulder
Pork Sausage
Venison (optional, traditional)
Ribs (optional)
Some peeled potatoes
To a large, lidded fireproof pot until it is 2/3 full and cover with:
Hang from a tripod over hot coals and keep at a simmer for seven or eight hours.  For the last hour of cooking add:
More potatoes.
Serve hot with fresh bread.

I have seen many people struggle to cook over a campfire.  The problem is that they try to cook over fire as opposed to coals.  The trick is to make hot coals as quickly as possible, and then feed them from a fire at the side.  The secret is the log cabin approach to fire building.  Old Boy Scouts may swear by the teepee, but nothing makes a good bed of coals faster than a log cabin.  The cabin also acts as a chimney, and you heat the pot before the coals are ready.  Adjust the height of pot over the fire to get the desire temperature.  

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