Company K Camp Fire Recipes
Each of these has actually been cooked in the field, most cooked several times.
Recipes are listed in order of complexity:
Roasted potato Ian Straus
For a white or "Irish" potato,
Punch a hole in the potato with a knife and then place it on the ashes / coals of the camp fire. Not in the flames! Turn it occasionally. Pull it out with your fork and squeeze it. (Careful, it is hot!) When it's soft it's done. Extract it from the coals, let it cool a little, slit it open, mash and eat the insides with a fork.
Roasted corn Ian Straus
Bring ears of corn still in the shuck. If dry, soak them in a bucket. Put the ears on the coals of your fire and turn them occasionally. It's all right if the shuck chars, but you don't want it to burn through. Inside the shuck, your corn is steaming. When the shuck starts to get burned at one end, rescue it, hold the ear by the cooler end and strip the shuck off. Eat the corn off the cob, and you will enjoy the fresh roasted over the camp fire taste. (Don't under-cook, raw corn will give you the runs!)
Roasted sweet potato Ian Straus
Punch a hole in the potato with a knife and then place it on the ashes / coals of the camp fire. Not in the flames! Turn it occasionally. If you see the skin turn black don't worry, just turn it to get the other side cooked. If you're cooking at night, cook until the skin actually glows a little after you pull the potato out of the fire with a fork. Otherwise in the light, pull it out with your fork and squeeze it. (Careful, it is hot!) When it's very soft (softer than a baked Irish potato) it's done. Let it cool a little, slit it open, and eat the insides with a fork. It should be so soft that you don't have to mash it.
Dusty's Oatmeal Breakfast Dusty Lind
Two cups oatmeal
One cup Raisins
Brown Sugar to taste
The trick to this ensure you first boil three cups of water. The boiling
water will ensure the oatmeal breaks down. Once water is boiling add all
ingredients stirring constantly. Once oatmeal is smooth and not lumpy it's
done. Note you may need to add extra boiling water to thin this out if it
gets too thick.
Finally ensure you clean your mucket right after you eat, dried oatmeal is
a devil to remove once dried.
Black Eyed Peas Ian Straus
Black eyed peas cook much faster than beans, without hours of pre-soaking. And if you cook them with sugar as below, you'll find that they have a taste very much like beans, and don't have anything of the dirt taste of canned black eyed peas.
Begin with a mucket or boiler, dried black eyed peas, a piece of bacon cut up, a sliced pearl onion or a cut up slice of a larger onion, a pinch of salt, a piece of sugar at least as big as two thumbs (or more to your taste), and a little powdered mustard. (maybe a half teaspoon). As a luxury, a little bit of ginger root if you have it, chopped; or powdered ginger.
You have the option to pre-soak, but you don't have to. (This is for dried black eyed peas. Fresh black eyed peas don't need to be pre soaked, taste a little better, but are rarely found in the stores),
Fill the boiler one quarter full with black eyed peas, and add water to cover them and fill the boiler to about the two-thirds level. Bring the peas to a boil.
Drain off and discard as much of the water as you can (this is a good reason to have a mucket with a lid.).
Re-fill the mucket with water, and this time add the other ingredients, the onion, bacon , sugar, salt, mustard, (and ginger root.) Boil the peas until they are soft. (Fish one out with a spoon to test.)
Add water if necessary to keep the mucket from going dry and to keep the peas in water.
Drain a little and spoon out onto your plate.
Corn dodgers- Arthur Porras
Uuse 2 handfuls of cornbread [corn meal?] per person eating (all measurements will be given in "field" usage since a measuring cup in your haversack would be awkward to say the least!) add a little water at a time to make up a thick paste, salt and pepper to taste. If some of your companions are cooking up bacon beg/borrow about a tablespoon of the fat and mix in (this is optional-it adds taste and helps the batter stick together. The same goes for 1 egg. Make the batter up into patties or roll into logs about the thickness of your thumb and fry in bacon fat. They are done when the outside is golden brown (if you have to use a commercial oil put it in a period glass bottle)
Dusty's Rice Dessert Dusty Lind
One cup raisins
two cups rice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
One peeled and cored apple
One jigger of good brandy or whiskey
Put all items in a mucket and cover the top with water. Boil and ensure
water level stays above the top, stirring constantly. Once rice is cooked
the other ingredients will be done. Remove from heat let sit for 5 minutes
to cool. Enjoy.
Johnny Cakes Ian Straus
(Originally may have meant "journey cakes".)
Ingredients: Begin with a cup or mucket of boiling water, and some corn meal, and some bacon grease. Add a pinch of salt to the corn meal if you have it. Have a cup or canteen half to mix your ingredients in, and a frying pan with the bacon grease in it. A spoon, and fork or knife.
wAdd boiling water a little at a time to your corn meal to scald it, until you get a very thick batter, but don't add so much that it gets watery. (This scalding makes it plump up and makes it hang together).
wSpoon out your scalded corn meal and shape it into patties smaller than the palm of your hand, and drop them into the hot greased frying pan. Or just spoon out big spoonfuls into the pan and then press it down with the spoon.
wFry the patties until each ones begin to get browned, then flip it with your fork or knife.
Keep frying until the other side is browned, then put it on your plate to cool.
You have just made Johnnycakes.
Stewed apples- Arthur Porras
Core an apple, fill the core with brown sugar, and place in your tin cup or wire bailed cup.
Fill cup about 1/4 full with water and put over the fire. When all the water is boiled out it's done.
Corned Beef Hash Ian Straus
Ingredients: A piece of salted beef of about 1/2 pound (see "salting meat" section,) and a medium sized potato (or more beef & potato for a heartier appetite or to feed more people), and a piece of bacon or a couple of spoonfuls worth of bacon grease (estimate by eye). If you have it, a bit of onion as big as your thumb, or a pearl onion.
wFirst, boil the salt beef in a mucket or boiler can full of fresh water to get the salt out. Bring to a boil and boil for 10-20 minutes, which should make your meat turn pink from the nitrites in the salt. Pour out the salty water.
wWhile the meat boils, take your potato. Don't bother to peel it if it's clean. Dice your potato up as small as you can, by first cutting it lengthwise, then crosswise, finally turning the pieces and cutting crosswise again to produce many small cubes.
wCut your bit of onion up small,
wCut your boiled corned beef up small, about as small as the potato pieces.
wFry the bacon to get some grease, and tilt the pan to grease its bottom.
wFry your onion briefly
wAdd the potato pieces and fry them for a minute
wAdd the meat, and then fry the beef and potato bits, stirring frequently with a fork to keep your food from burning. When the hash starts to brown, it's done. (The meat was actually cooked when you boiled it.)
Corn bread Ian Straus
Start with a frying pan or skillet, and your tin plate to cover it. Your spoon, fork and knife, and a cloth to use as a hot pad.
Corn meal and a canteen of water.
You will mix this corn bread in the frying pan.
(If you want to cheat with ingredients not usually available to the Civil War soldier, and get better corn bread, use corn bread mix or self rising corn meal. Also good to add are a fresh egg; and / or covertly bring a modern ingredient, about 1/2 cup of powdered milk pre-mixed into each 2 cups of your corn meal mix.)
wGet two or three tablespoon-fuls of bacon grease in your pan (estimate by eye), and drop in a generous amount of your corn meal, say about 2 cups for a full sized frying pan. (Remember, even with leavening corn bread hardly rises at all, so the volume of your batter will be close to the volume of your bread. You want it thick, you're not making pancakes.)
wAdd water a little at a time and mix until you get a thick batter.
wAt this time you can stir in your egg (beaten egg) if you have one.
wPut your tin plate on top of the frying pan to make it a little oven.
Cook on top of the coals (not on top of flames, they burn too hot and will burn your bread!). Check every once in a while to see how it's baking. Have patience! If you try to cook it faster by getting it over the flames, the bottom will burn. When the center is hard, not damp, and a little browned it's about done. Stick in a knife and if it comes out clean, it certainly is done. (You can try to flip the corn pone by turning it over onto your plate, to get the other side browned without burning the bottom, but it has to be pretty solid for flipping to work..) The baking will make your corn meal shrink a little so that it's easy to get out of the pan. Turn it out onto your plate, making sure not to burn yourself.
Dusty's Hell Fire Cornbread Dusty Lind
two cups cornmeal
1/4 fresh diced hot peppers (your choice)
One small onion diced
Boil three cups of hot water. Add all ingredients and stir. Take canteen
half grease with bacon grease. Pour hot batter in canteen half and fill
half way full. Take second canteen half and cover. Place canteen halves on
coals. Place a few coals on top of canteen halves. Bake till browned and
done. You can check when middle is done by using a piece of straw. Stick
straw in center of batter mix. If the straw comes out clean with no batter
stuck to it, it's done.
Cush- Arthur Porras
This was mentioned in several accounts-both in the eastern and western Confederate armies. Take some grease (cooking oil or bacon fat will work), cut up some of your salted meat (about 1/4-1/2 lb, about the size of your fist, again, rinse some of that salt out!) into small cubes and put it in the hot grease, add water to cover the meat and boil it up for about 15 minutes, remove from the fire, and add about 2 handfuls of cornbread, or flour ( yanks pounded up their hardtack). Put back into the fire and cook until all the water is boiled out. Keep a close watch and stir occasionally or it will burn the bottom. This dish works best in a skillet or canteen half but can be also done in a tin cup or bail wire cup.
A nice variation of this is to cut up your washed meat, add vegetables, rice, barley, corn (cut up the cob or scrape the kernels off the cob), onions ( 1 small onion cut up), 1 potato, carrots, cabbage, whatever you fancy and put in your tin cup or bailed cup and fill the cup to the top with water to make a nice stew. Boil for around 1/2 hr, adding water as necessary. Keep stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. You can make this thick like a hash or thin like a soup by the amount of water you boil out. You can make a fancy cush of this by adding flour. It will also make your provisions stretch farther.
Another way to prepare this is to "stir fry" the whole mess, cut up all the ingredients into small portions, put into a skillet or canteen half with a small amount of hot grease and stir vigorously for about 3 minutes. Its very quick, you donít want to overcook this. This only works in a skillet or canteen half. If you want, serve this with rice you cooked up in your tin cup or bailed cup. Remember the rice will take About 20 minutes so start it first so both will be ready at the same time. For those of you who donít know how to cook rice: take 1-2 handfuls of rice ( depending on how hungry you are), add water that takes up twice the volume of the rice add 2 pinches of salt, 1 spoonful of oil if you got it, and set to boil. If your fireís too hot it will boil out the water before the rice is completely cooked, keep an eye on it and add water sparingly. Keep stirring to avoid scorching the bottom.
Dusty's Fruit Pies Dusty Lind
Two canteen halves
8-12 hardcrackers depending on size
four apples, or four pears, or six peaches or a other
fruit in season
Sugar to taste
Canteen of water
Put crackers in handkerchief and tie up ends, take rock or bayonet, pound
hardtack to a powder. Once in a powder pour crumbs bottom of one canteen
half. Pour water slowly in mixture to form a crust. Form pie shell that
covers bottom and sides of canteen half. Take excess crust and put in
second canteen half. Then fill 3/4 full with fruit. sprinkle sugar on top
of fruit. Take extra crust from second canteen half and form top crust.
Ensure you make some vent holes in top of crust by poking the crust top.
Take second canteen half and cover bottom canteen half, so it looks like a
Place in coals of fire. Gently place a few coals on top of canteen half to
cook the top.
There is no set time for cooking. Once the fruit is bubbling and the top
browned its ready to serve.
If you prefer a bit of kick, one jigger of good whiskey can be added to
Apple turnovers- Arthur Porras
Take one or two apples depending on the number of turnovers you want to make. One medium apple will make two turnovers.
Peel the apples. Make a dough of flour: 1 part water and 1 part evaporated milk, a pinch of salt to make a thick paste ( it should not flow but maintain its shape when rolled).
You can do this several ways depending on your utensils. If you only have tin plates make up several round patties the thickness of tortillas.
Put several slices of apples in the middle, sprinkle molasses sparingly to cover or 2 tablespoons of sugar ( I prefer the sugar but you decide) on the apples, sprinkle some water on it and roll it up. Moisten the ends with water and tuck in so the apples are sealed in.
Put in the coals. Cover with a pardís tin plate (youíll probably have plenty of volunteers in return for a share) and cover the top carefully with coals. Leave in about 30-45 minutes. This will also work with canned or fresh peaches but use half the molasses and use the syrup from the can- still add the sugar, it taste better, donít ask me why! Remove carefully and serve!
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