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Recipe Hacks for the Great Outdoors

“Roughing it” doesn't mean you have to eat instant noodles. Here, pros from Urban Kitchen Group (Cucina Urbana, Enoteca, and Sorella) show you how to elevate camp fare with campfire.
Chickpea & Mushroom Hash | Photo courtesy Urban Kitchen Group

Chickpea & Mushroom Hash

I make this easily using a can opener, cast-iron pan, a knife, and a spoon.

Save about half a cup of leftover coffee and soak 2 ounces of bacon or pancetta in it until the next morning, when you’re ready to make the hash.

I start by melting a tablespoon of butter in the cast-iron pan right over the open coals, which adds to the smokiness of the dish. When the butter starts to brown, add the coffee-soaked pancetta and render until it starts to crisp. Then add a small handful of potatoes, about 3 ounces, sliced thin.

Let the potatoes cook in the pancetta fat for a couple of minutes until they start to get soft. Then add some nice cleaned mushrooms. A couple of different kinds will give different textures and flavors. When the mushrooms are almost ready, add 2 ounces of chickpeas and 1 ounce of cherry tomatoes. Move all the ingredients to the sides of the cast-iron and build a well. Crack an egg in the middle and don’t move anything. After the egg begins to sizzle, season with salt and cracked black pepper on top.

—Joe Magnanelli, Urban Kitchen Group Executive Chef

Campfire Cornbread

You will need either a Dutch oven, or a cast-iron pan with a lid or aluminum foil. I like to top it with smoked butter, but you can use good old-fashioned butter, too.

Take a couple corncobs and place them directly on the coals of the campfire. Let them char on the fire to get nice and smoky and toasty. Cut the corn off the cob.

Place the Dutch oven or cast iron on the fire uncovered. In a bowl, mix 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup buttermilk, and 2 eggs. Add a big pat of butter to the pan and melt. Add the corn to the batter and pour into the pan. Putting the batter in while it’s hot makes a great crust on the cornbread. Cover with the lid or aluminum foil and nestle into the fire. Rotate once or twice while cooking.

Pull it out of the fire with an oven mitt or, if preferred, a long stick. Allow to cool slightly and top with the smoked butter.

As for how to make smoked butter, it’s easy: Just find a place downwind of the campfire and place the butter in that area. Not too close that it will melt, but close enough to take on that smoky smell.

—Joe Magnanelli, Urban Kitchen Group Executive Chef

Roman Craig* Cocoa

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa mix (directions below)
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • Roasted marshmallows

Fill your mug with hot water and stir everything to incorporate.

Top with roasted marshmallows.


Cocoa Mix

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups powdered milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Run all three ingredients through a sieve to blend and incorporate evenly.

Spoon 3 tablespoons or more per 8 ounces of hot water or milk, depending on your liking.

—Koire Rogers, Cucina Enoteca Newport Beach Beverage Manager

*Dan Aykroyd’s character from The Great Outdoors

Recipe Hacks for the Great Outdoors

Chickpea & Mushroom Hash | Photo courtesy Urban Kitchen Group

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