Gourmet Tin Foil Dinner: Pork, Potatoes and Veggies
Do you know it is nearly impossible to take a good picture of a cooked tin foil dinner, and especially as your light is waning and the foil reflects everything in a weird way. This tasted MUCH better than it looks. Pinky swear. This is not your standard meat-and-potatoes dinner, I added a ton of veggies and they turned out absolutely divine.
Now, some notes on cooking over an open fire. It is a little trickier and requires more patience than a microwave or stove-top. You need to prepare a good fire with dry wood and then let it burn for about 45 minutes so you have some white coals and the flames aren’t very high. This is all pretty loosey-goosey as I have never heard of anyone taking the temperature of a fire to see if it’s 375 degrees yet. I’m sure my pioneer ancestors were adept at that sort of thing, but it is an art that has not been passed down to me. So, I go by general feel and cook instead of baking. It’s better to pull your dinner off the fire a little early and check it than to have charred veggies because you left it too long (or you put it directly on flames).
Gourmet Tin Foil Dinner
Makes 2 servings for hungry-hungry people
1 uncooked chicken breast or pork chop, cut into small cubes
1 yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 red potatoes, scrubbed
1 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
1 red bell pepper, diced
double handful fresh green beans, chopped into 1-2″ pieces
Any extra leftover veggies in your fridge (carrots, cauliflower, squash, spinach, whatever)
Generous dose of salt and pepper
1-2 teaspoons fresh or dry herbs: rosemary, basil, thyme, oregano, whatever you like
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan or Romano cheese
Chop up your meat and potatoes and veggies and toss everything into a bowl and mix well I put it into a medium-sized Tupperware and did a little “Shake It Up, Baby!” dance. However, you will probably prepare these at home instead of on a National Park picnic table, so, bowl and spoon for you, Elaine dance for me. Tear off four large pieces of tin foil and make two stacks. Put a drop or two of olive oil on the foil and spread it around with your (mostly) clean finger (or, you know, use a little cooking spray). This helps your dinner not stick to the foil. In the middle of each piece of foil put a pile of your dinner mixture, and then drizzle it with olive oil, like so:
Then fold the long edges together to make a sort-of open tube, like so:
Take the short edges and bring them to the center to seal off your dinner:
Roll those pieces together tightly down to the packet.
Repeat this whole process with another layer of foil. Then put your dinner on white-hot campfire coals (not flames), and let cook for 35-45 minutes, until your meat is done and your potatoes are soft. Add more salt and pepper if necessary, and enjoy!
A Few Tips for Campfire Cooking:
- Cooking over a fire takes a while, it takes a while to start your fire and it takes some time before it’s ready to cook on.
- Make sure you bring extra wood (for s’mores) and at least 2 gallons of water for dousing your coals before you leave the campsite (if you have water at your campsite, then make sure to bring a gallon jug to get it from the river/faucet to your fire pit).
- Bring a pair of long fire-resistant tongs, and/or a pair of heavy-duty leather gloves for retrieving your dinner.
- A shovel for moving your coals around is much more precise than using a stick, but a big stick will work just fine.
- You can always pull your dinner out to check it, re-wrap, and pop it back in if it’s not done yet, but you will lose some of the steam and the tight foil seal by doing so.