As Tom Waits once said, “nothing beats a campfire and a can of beans”. Far be it from us to question the wisdom of Waits, but sometimes you need a little more oomph in your camp cooking.
Tourism Saskatchewan challenged local chefs Milton Rebello (Skye Café and Bistro), Jenni Lesnard (Wanuskewin) and Jodi Robson (Great Canadian Baking Show finalist) to take the traditional camping meal and come up with something even more delicious. Is it possible to improve on the humble but tasty bush pie? We think they nailed it.
Caramelized Crab Apple, Onion, Sage and Brie Bush Pie
by Chef Jenni Lessard
Yield 4 Pies
I adore crab apples and they’re ripe for the picking during the second half of a Saskatchewan summer. Fresh sage compliments them beautifully when cooked down slowly with onions and butter. Brie turns the whole situation into a sweet and savoury, melty camping or backyard gourmand’s dream come true!
- 8 slices ancient grain bread (or any kind you prefer but I like its textures and healthy properties)
- 3 cups crab apples, chopped into approximately 1 each pieces. If using smaller apples, just cut each of the “cheeks” off.
- 1/2 cup chopped onion (half a medium onion)
- 2 Tbsp salted butter, plus more for buttering the bread slices
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh or 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8th tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 300 grams cubed Brie cheese (approximately 1/4 cup per serving)
Heat butter in cast iron pan. When bubbling nicely, add apples, onions and sage. Reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally until onions start to soften.
Add the brown sugar, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until apples are soft and onions are golden brown.
The filling can be made ahead of your camping trip or backyard party and refrigerated up to 3 days. It freezes well, too!
Butter two slices of bread. Put one slice in one side of the campfire iron, butter side down and evenly distribute 1/3 cup of the filling, leaving some room at the edges. Top with Brie and the other slice of bread, butter side up.
Connect the two sides of the sandwich iron and press down, locking the handles. Place the iron right in the middle of the hottest part of the fire and leave it there for 3-6 minutes until the sides are dark brown.
Let cool a bit then dig in!
Bannock On a Stick
by Chef Jenni Lessard
This is the Bannock recipe my great aunt gave to me just before I opened my restaurant. Now it’s the Bannock we use at Wanuskewin. It calls for half whole wheat flour and half all purpose flour, to add more nutrition and a heartier texture. For Baked Bannock, use 1/2 cup more water and bake in a 12 inch circle on a sheet pan approximately 35 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups cold water
- 1/2 cup canola oil
Mix flour, baking powder, brown sugar and salt in a bowl. Add water and oil and stir just until combined.
Knead until all ingredients are combined, adding a bit more flour if necessary.
Divide into 20 equal sized balls. Flatten and form into 5 inch long portion. Wind around peeled poplar or other wooden stick, pinching shut at top and bottom. Cook over low fire, rotating often, approximately 15 min until cooked completely inside. Serve with butter and jam!
Fire Roasted Saskatchewan Snow Beef Roulade
by Chef Jodi Robson
- 6 Saskatchewan Snow Beef Hot Pot slices
- 6 strips of bacon (Drake meats)
- 6 tsp of a good mustard we used Hillside Foods Roasted Red Pepper Mustard
- Salt and Pepper
Root vegetables (Carrot, potatoes, onion and garlic) Local & Fresh Market
Who doesn’t love a simple meat on a stick kind of dinner?
Lay a slice of beef down, spread a spoon of mustard on, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roll up and wrap a strip of bacon around it. Spear with a stick. And roast over hot coals until bacon has rendered and beef is cooked through. About 15 minutes over a moderate heat, turning often.
Paired with pan-fried root vegetables, cooked with lardons and garlic on a grill over the fire. Begin by rendering lardon in a cast iron pan, once it begins to brown a little, add vegetables and garlic to pan.
Saskatoon Berry Bush Pie with Vanilla bean ice cream
by Chef Jodi Robson
- 2 cups Saskatoon berries (picked at Ol’ Mill Berry farm near Qu’Appelle, SK)
- 2/3 c sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- zest from one navel orange plus the juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 c water
- 2 cups All-Purpose flour
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1.5 tbsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 c warm milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp butter (melted)
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
Berries and Batter can be made ahead and transported in airtight containers in a cooler.
In a medium saucepan, combine berries, water and zest. Cook over medium heat until berries become shiny and release some juices. Stir frequently. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, sugar and cornstarch, then whisk to fully incorporate cornstarch into sugar. Pour into cooking berries, stirring continuously until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in juice from orange. Set aside.
For batter: In a large bowl, whisk together: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, butter and maple syrup. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix.
Heat iron over hot coals, brush with oil, pour batter into both sides of the iron. Drop a generous spoonful of berry mix into one side. let cook until edges are almost set and bubbles have formed on surface. Sandwich together and continue cooking for another minute per side. Remove from iron and repeat with remaining batter.
Let cool for a few minutes before serving. We paired our bush pies with vanilla bean ice cream (Dandy’s) and a drizzle of maple syrup. Although a dusting of cinnamon sugar would have been nice too!
Lentil and chickpea Bush Pie (Camp-fire Bread toast) with local mustard, mint chutney & roasted beets
by Chef Milton Rebello
Bush pie (campfire bread toast) brings back fond memories as I was a kid.
(Masala bread toast is a street food in Mumbai) My ma had a special toast recipe that she would make for us on a cold rainy day, accompanied with a sweet and spicy mint chutney and a chili tomato ketchup.
I would love to share our version of Saskatchewan lentil & chickpea bush pie layered with roasted beets, mustard and mint honey chutney.
30 minutes | Cook time- 30 minutes | total time 60 minutes |
Recipe should easily make 6 sandwiches (bush pies)
Bush pie cast iron clamp rod with handle
- Bread – sliced multigrain seed loaf used in this recipe
- (sandwich loaf work great as well)
- Butter – 4 oz (apply to bread slice on both sides)
Filling 1 (lentil and chickpea masala)
- 200 gms Chickpea & 100 gms lentil (soaked overnight)
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground Cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon Mustard seeds
- Salt/ pepper to taste
- Boil the chickpea and lentil till soft, drain the liquid and put aside the chickpea and lentil to cool.
- Heat a thick bottom pan, when hot, add the vegetable oil.
- Add the mustard and let it crackle
- Add onion, cook till golden brown
- Add garlic and spices. Cook with continuous stirring till the oil separates from the spice mixture.
- Add the tomatoes and the cooked lentil and chickpea.
- Allow to mix well and simmer for a few minutes.
- Pull off the heat and keep aside for assembling the bush pie.
Layers 2 Boiled potato, peeled and thinly sliced
Layers 3 Roast beets, peeled and thinly sliced
Mint & honey chutney
- 1 Green pepper (seeded and roughly chopped)
- 3 sprigs of green onions (roughly chopped)
- 2 Jalapeno
- 100 gms of cilantro leaves and stems
- 100 gms of mint leaves
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 4 tbs spoons of honey
- 1 juice of lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
Blend all the above ingredients in a blender on medium speed to make a smooth chutney
Assembling the pie
- Apply butter to both sides of the bread slice
- Apply mint chutney to the inner side of the bread you wish to s/w
- Top in the layers – first the sliced boiled potato, top it with a scoop of the lentil & chickpea mixture, topped with roasted beet slices, close the s/w with the second slice.
- Toast the bush pie over open flame, over char coal or over your gas stove open flame.
- Toast evenly on both sides.
- The Variety of bush pie is only limited by your imagination.
- The filling can be prepared a day before you wish to make the toast.
- You could add cheese or substitute any ingredient to make it you own special treat.
- Spicy tomato ketchup is easy to assemble (add 3 parts of your favorite brand of ketchup to one part of siracha sauce or hot sauce and a splash of lime juice)
Northern Saskatchewan Walleye and seasonal veggies
by Chef Jodi Robson
- Two fillets of walleye
- 3 small red potatoes
- 1 small zucchini
- 2 carrots
- 2 sprigs of dill
- 1 lemon
- 8 chives
- course sea salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- canola oil
Wash and slice vegetables, set aside. Layer two pieces of aluminum foil together, and drizzle with oil. Spread a layer of thinly sliced potatoes, zucchini, carrots on oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add a few small sprigs of dill. Place fish onto vegetables, then season with salt and pepper. Top with lemon slices and chives. Fold foil up lengthwise and secure by folding edges over twice, pinch tightly to seal. Fold each end together and roll upwards toward centre of packet. Place on grill over hot coals and cook for 15-20 minutes.