Sleeping Giant Provincial Park

Backcountry Cooking

Dispatch by Delano Lavigne
Photo by Ryan Edwardson

The stuffed peppers I served during our time in Sleeping Giant were definitely a success, bringing the team a much needed taste of home. I would like to share my recipe and also a few backcountry cooking secrets that will help bring a little taste of home into your backcountry cooking.

First, don't be afraid or timid when cooking in the woods. Just like at home when you are in your warm and well-equipped kitchen, take chances and experiment with the ingredients that you have.

Second, embrace the limitations of cooking in the backcountry and use them as ways to express your creativity. For example, whenever I am on an overnight trip, especially an extended trip, I love to 'build' a kitchen. I look for just the perfect spot; flat, wind protected, away from the smoke of the campfire, and near trees so I can hang my supplies and stay organized. I gather flat rocks to build a 'table' and 'chair' to sit on.

Cooking can take up a lot of time on any trip, especially if the weather is bad, so you might as well be as comfortable as possible in circumstances that can be, shall I say, less than ideal. 

Third, stay organized. Cooking supplies are generally limited when in the backcountry and misplacing something may threaten the success of a trip. I clean as I go and designate 'homes' for all my supplies.

Last, enjoy the view. I mean, how many people can look out their 'kitchen' and have Lake Superior and Nanabijou (Sleeping Giant) as their backdrop?

Ingredients

1 small red onion

1 8 oz. can diced or stewed tomatoes (I used one that was seasoned with basil to help bring more flavour to an otherwise limited pantry)

3 bell peppers (add color by using a red, yellow, and green pepper)

1/2 - 3/4 cup of wild rice (wild rice was a staple food for the Ojibwe of this area)

Curry powder, Cumin, Salt, Pepper

Sriracha mixed with ketchup

Olive oil (or whatever else you may have)

Cheese (at home I use feta but for camping I suggest cheddar)

Cooking Instructions

First you want to blanche the peppers. You do this by boiling water and cooking the peppers for approximately 3 minutes. Try and conserve water by using less than you would at home and by not throwing the water away once the peppers are blanched. Set the peppers aside.

Next, add olive oil to a hot pan or pot and add the onions. Saute the onions until translucent (warning: camping stoves can cook really hot so be mindful not to burn the onions). Add the tomatoes (use a Swiss Army knife to open the can—no need to bring a heavy and cumbersome can opener). Add the spices and let stew until the liquid from the tomatoes is half reduced or until it goes from clear to dark red.

Add the rice (precook rice at home—but not fully—it will finish cooking at camp) and let cook for 5 minutes. 

Last step is to add the special sauce.

Let it all cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stuff the peppers. Finally, add cheese and serve. 


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