The Perfect Camping Snack: Dutch Oven Chili and Nachos
If you’ve experienced camping out during a cold season, you know how difficult it is to keep warm. No matter how many layers you put on, it never seems to keep your body warm. Even eating outside the tent is somewhat burdening.
As a camper, we have to eat to replenish all the energy we’ve lost from our laborious day activities. Through decades of camping, I grew tired of the usual canned goods and sandwiches that we campers usually bring because they’re light and easy to cook.
Firstly, their taste is monotonous, and secondly, they can’t warm our bodies up. Why settle for readily available foods like that when you can make a truly satisfying, body-warming and tasty food like the Dutch Oven Chili Nachos?
Maybe you’re thinking “Why is this woman so obsessed with Mexican food?” because most of the recipes I posted on this blog are mostly Mexican (don’t worry I’ll create more non-Mexican camping recipes in the future).
Partly yes, I’m slightly obsessed, but when you’re camping, you‘ll realize how convenient it is to cook (or pre-cook) Mexican food. And one more thing... Mexican food’s great! Don’t you agree?
The Dutch Oven Chili Nachos
I love how versatile a Dutch oven is. You can use it for cooking, boiling, and baking right in the campsite. If I am forced to choose only one camping tool I can keep for the whole duration of my camping life, I’d gladly pick the Dutch oven. Kidding! I also love how we can use it to cook our Dutch Oven Chili Nachos recipe.
Nothing beats the taste of a hot Dutch Oven Chili during a chilly night at the camp.It’s a famous camping recipe too. The soup-like texture of the Chili warms the mouth all the way to the stomach.
And hey, it’s not all soup; there are meat, vegetables, and lots of spices in there too. If you’ve tasted one, you have an idea how satisfying that first warm taste of the Chili is. It will really bring you to your senses!
Nachos, on the other hand, are not only a hit snack during game days and friendly hangouts. It’s also a great snack and an appetizer during dinners.
Dutch oven chili and nachos are a great combination. The Dutch oven chili is pretty similar with the Chili con carne which is usually served as toppings to nacho chips.
If you've brought bread with you, you can use the chili leftovers as fillings, or you can scoop a portion of the warm chili in a mug then eat it as is.
What can you gain from chilis?
Do you know that chilis and peppers are scientifically proven to raise the human body temperature? That’s why eating spicy foods will definitely elevate your temperature a bit, thereby helping you to keep warm, but not for so long. You’re still going to need those thermal clothes and tent warmer tools (insert article link in the sentence).
Moreover, these spicy peppers contain a compound termed as “capsaicin”. Capsaicin boosts and hastens metabolism thus burning excess fat faster. Aside from fat burning, the compound fights the buildup of fat. In fact, Korean researchers concluded that capsaicin decreases body weight by 8% - all the more reason to include chilis and peppers in your daily consumption.
In addition to the chilis, the beans we’ll use in the recipe, mainly the black beans and the kidney beans, are excellent protein sources too!
Hey reader, if you’re planning to make the Dutch Oven Chili Nachos on camp, it’s best to do a little planning at home. What I usually do before the trip is to chop all the ingredients that needed chopping, keep them in an airtight container or a Ziploc and put them in the fridge overnight.
This way, I won’t need to bring a kitchen knife and a chopping board to camp. Most importantly, it is a way of cutting back on wastes generated in the campsite.
The Ingredients & Steps In Making The Perfect Dutch Oven Chili Nachos
What you’ll need
- 1 ½ Pounds lean ground beef
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Large onion, chopped
- 5 Cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Bell pepper, chopped
- 5 Tomatoes, diced
- 1 Can black beans/chili beans
- 1 Can kidney beans
- 1 Can tomato paste (500 ml)
- 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp ground cumin
- 1 Tbsp ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground oregano
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1 pack nacho chips
Preheat the Dutch oven on your portable stove in medium heat. If you don’t have a portable stove, use briquette coals. Heat the coals first and make sure they’re blazing hot before putting them in the Dutch oven (using tongs) for about 20-30 minutes. Use 12 coals underneath and 20 on the lid for a regular 12-inch Dutch oven.
Pour the olive oil in the heated oven. Add the chopped onion and garlic cloves after a few minutes and sauté them until fragrant. Set aside.
Add the ground beef and cook until it turns brown. Open the lid from time to time to check on the meat.
Season the cooked beef with salt, ground pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, and cumin. Also, add the sliced bell peppers and diced tomatoes. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Add in the sautéed onion and garlic. Pour in tomato paste and beans afterward.
The tomato paste enhances each ingredients’ flavors thus improving the chili’s overall taste.
Bring the entire mixture to a boil while casually stirring it every 5 minutes or so. Add water and other spices if needed.
Transfer a portion into a bowl and top with lots of shredded cheese and more chopped onions.
Scoop out the mix with a Nacho chip. Enjoy!
Don’t let your camping event get in the way of your nacho fix. You can pre-cut the ingredients, cook the entire recipe in the campsite and share it with your fellow campers. Just don’t make the food too spicy if you have kids with you. Enjoy your snack!