No flames are required for this comfortingly simple cowboy supper of foil-wrapped herby spuds and a casserole of sweet, smoky beans – all of which is tucked into the hot, white coals to cook.
4 baking potatoes
30g salted butter
Handful of fresh thyme for the beans
1 tbsp olive oil
400g smoked bacon lardons
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2tsp English mustard powder
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp black treacle
2 x 400g tins haricot beans in water
Handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Natural yogurt, to serve
1 Using a sharp knife, cut slits widthways into each potato, working your way along from end to end – be careful to only cut three-quarters of the way down. Rub each potato generously with butter and carefully stuff sprigs of thyme in between some of the slits.
2 Individually wrap each potato in a double layer of foil and place directly on white coals (when the flames have died), for 30–40 mins, turning every 10 mins.
3 Cook the beans in either a Dutch oven* on an open fire or in a large saucepan on a camping stove. Heat the oil over a medium-high heat and add the lardons, frying for 5 mins until they just start to brown. Add the onion and continue to cook until softened.
4 Add garlic, paprika, cumin and mustard powder; stir thoroughly before stirring through the tomato purée and treacle. Add the beans along with the water from their tins, then half fill one of the tins with extra water and add that to the pan also.
5 Bring the beans to a simmer and allow to cook, stirring often, until the sauce has thickened – around 10–20 mins, depending on how you’re cooking them. Before serving, scatter the parsley over the beans.
6 To test the potatoes, give them a gentle squeeze: if they feel soft, they’re ready. Carefully unwrap each one and serve with a generous helping of beans and a dollop of yogurt.
* A Dutch oven is a lidded cast-iron or earthenware casserole robust enough to cook in the coals.
Turn to page 38 of August's The Simple Things for more of our camping special.