A big Dutch oven can serve no better purpose than to cook up a huge pot of homemade beef stew. It is the perfect recipe for camp outs. It goes way back to the old western cattle drives where fresh beef was always plentiful. Even though you will have to plan ahead and get your beef stew meet at the grocery store, it will taste pretty much the same as what the cowboys used to eat on the trail and maybe even better!
You can used canned potatoes and carrots for this recipe if you choose, but fresh veggies always have a better taste and for long, slow cooking, canned stuff can get too mushy. The thing is that the beef stew meat should be slow cooked in the dutch oven for at least a couple of hours over low to medium heat so it will be good and tender. A longer cooking time for the stew meat can be required if you hang your Dutch oven on a tripod. The longer you cook it, the better it’s going to taste so this recipe is one you will want to start in the early evening. This one should feed at 4 to 6 people.
2lbs of beef stew meat – raw
6 Idaho potatoes – peeled and diced medium
4 large carrots – cleaned and sliced thin
1 medium onion – cleaned and diced small
1 pkg of beef stew mix
1 pkg of mushroom gravy mix
Throw all of the ingredients into your Dutch oven. Add the required 1 cup of water each for the gravy mix and beef stew mix. After it is all in, add enough water to the pot to completely cover the meat and vegetables. Your cooking time is going to vary depending on how fast you want it to get done, but slow is the key! If you get this dish started about 2 hours before you want to eat, it should be plenty done enough to enjoy. Cook it slower to make 3 hours and it will taste even better.
Just make sure to stir it occasionally so that it never sticks or burns. If the liquid is cooking out too quickly, then reduce your heat and add a little more water. Campfire cooking is never an exact science and sometimes you just need to go slow and wing it a little as you go. As long as you don’t get your fire too hot or turn your camping stove up too high, you should come out with a slow cooked, thick beef stew that will satisfy the hungriest of campers! Just always keep in mind that when you have food cooking for a long time, you need to do it away from your sleeping tents because the delicious aromas can attract more than hungry campers. Wild animals coming to your campsite is a real threat and you have to do all you can to keep them away.