Monday, October 18, 2010

Campfire Pizza

Went on an outdoors adventure with some friends - a hike-in cabin in the mountains. We love to eat well, so we adapted our grilled pizza for the campfire. It was a lot different than we expected, here are some tips we learned to help your next back country adventure be as delicious as the scenery:
The Fire: our campsite had a grill rack that swung over the firepit- totally necessary for the pizza. The guys stoked the fire: hot coals, not flames, were what we needed, & it needed TLC to get there. The fire was a mix of fir & birch, downed wood from the area.

The Crust: Trader Joe's premade white pizza crust. This easy cheat was a big help in the prep, thou one crust, stretched into two pies, was not enough food for four hungry hikers. Next time I'll bring two.
Unlike in the oven or on the more even fire of the grill, we found the crust needed to be a lot thicker than normal to cook well. The first pie, a thin one, was a somewhat burned cracker that stuck maddeningly to the foil.

Foil: is foil the unsung hero of campfire eating? While the fire was turning to coals, we wrapped sliced onion & new potato & a whole head of garlic in foil, seasoned with pepper & stuck it into the inferno to get delicious. Leftovers were was used in the morning's roasted garlic hashbrowns.

For the pizzas, we ultimately ended up with little foil boats for the crust to cruise around in; top down when the raw crust was put on (we used pancake mix in lieu of cornmeal to keep it from sticking), and then, once the pies were topped, we folded the foil around it, creating personal ovens to keep the hot air from escaping into the cold night. They were spun around to ensure even heating.

The Sauce: my bff made killer fennel seed tomato sauce from scratch (with NY's bumper tomato year, fresh sauce was a must). Another key to camping, she froze it overnight so it would serve as an icepak for other coldstuffs.

Toppings: in addition to the firebaked garlicky onions & potatoes, we also had sliced red peppers (which we'd also have the following dinner), as well as manchego & a smoked gouda. Pizza was our first night on the trip, so even though we didn't have refrigeration, we indulged our love of cheese. That said, hard cheese held up much better than any mozzarella or softer cheese would have.

Manchego-Potato and Gouda-Pepper-Onion Pizzas- delicious!

When you've been hiking all day just about anything tastes good, but why sacrifice your gourmet ideals just because you're far from civilization? Lots can be done in advance, like sauces, spice mixes, & chopped ingredients- this way we only carry what we need.

Hope your next camp out is delicious too!!


Anonymous said...

Reynolds makes a nonstick foil that works quite well, and might do the trick for your campfire crusts! Nice post.

Anonymous said...

I have been making pizza on fires for years. If you start the fire early you will have generous amounts of heat. Place the crust on the grill surface directly. Once browned flip and add toppings. Cheese first so it melts into the hot crust. Continue cooking until done.