Winter Camping Chili

dutch-oven-chili-by-Pat SpinneyWe know that chili is named for the complex flavors of the chili peppers you cook it with — but it’s also great for eating in chilly weather. It’s a body warming food that’s high in proteins and complex carbs perfect for camping in cold weather and it’s simple to make—which makes it perfect outdoor food for a winter camping trip. It’s not the minimalist camper’s best friend because of the heavy equipment and cans needed but if you’re a car camper or aren’t hiking in very far, chili should be on your food list this January. Give our chili recipe a try. It has a secret ingredient that makes it super delicious!

Chocolate Black Bean Chili

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa or more to taste
  • brown sugar to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, diced
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cans white chicken or 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 can black beans, undrained
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 small can roasted garlic tomato paste
  • 1 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • non-fat sour cream for topping

Before leaving on your trip, make a baggie with all your spices so you don’t have to lug spices along too. Cut up your onion, chipotle chiles, and cilantro and bag them separately too. If you’re using raw chicken, cut it into 1/2 inch cubes

At the campsite, use a thick bottomed pan like a Dutch oven. Coat it with cooking oil and heat. Cook your onions until they’re clear and fragrant. Add in your chicken (brown it if using raw chicken). Add in your spices to coat the chicken completely and let it cook for a few minutes. Add in the remaining ingredients and cook for about 30 minutes. If you’re using canned chicken, you can serve it once it’s hot but the longer you cook it the more flavor the chili will have!

On a winter’s evening, it’s a good plan to do the prep before the sun goes down. Set the Dutch oven in the embers of your fire and enjoy music, games, or conversation while it simmers. When you’re ready to eat, you’ll have a savory, satisfying meal all ready.

If you’re looking for a good Dutch oven, Uncle Sam’s has some that are pre-seasoned and ready to use at the campsite!

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