Scouting magazine presents the prize-winning recipes for entrées, side dishes, and desserts in our Great Tastes in Camp Cooking Contest.
When life hands you lemons, add lime and make dumplings.
OK, that might sound a little off-the-wall—that is, until you check out the Grand Prize-winning recipe in Scouting magazine’s Great Tastes in Camp Cooking Contest.
Back in 2008 we asked our BSA adult-volunteer readers to send in favorite recipes they’d field-tested in the great outdoors, ones that could be cooked over a charcoal or wood fire or by using a backpacking-style gas stove. Nearly 350 people from all across the United States submitted recipes in the three designated categories, Entrées, Side Dishes, and Desserts, including Martin A. Pessink of Pittsburg, Tex.
Just “for fun,” Pessink sent in a delectable doozy. The Venturing Crew 451 Advisor impressed us with a dessert deemed worthy of the top prize. He calls the culinary concoction Lemon-Lime Soda Apple Dumplings.
Martin A. Pessink
You can read the recipe for this Dutch-oven delight. But wait! If you want to know how it tastes—imagine the rich flavor of a wedge of Granny Smith apple, wrapped in a crescent roll, soaked in warm butter, and sprinkled with a heady dash of cinnamon and sugar, then doused in the effervescent sweetness of lemon-lime soda.
“Tart, Granny Smiths and the citrus in the soda complement each other better than other varieties of apples,” Pessink explains. “And the butter, cinnamon, and fruit flavors make you feel as if you’ve got your own little piece of apple pie.”
Yum! And that’s precisely what the judge we selected for our dessert entries thought.
H. Kent Rappleye, an Eagle Scout and president of the International Dutch Oven Society, notes that in addition to being quick and easy to prepare, Pessink’s dumplings deliver a flavor that’s “sweet but not overpowering.”
“This would be a good dish for a patrol to cook together on a camp-out,” Rappleye says. “They could get everything together, put the coals on, play a game of Capture the Flag, and gather back at camp for a light but delicious treat.”
Pessink, a longtime fan of Dutch-oven cooking, learned the secret of his dessert several years ago from a colleague during an outdoor Venturing crew training session. After tweaking the recipe a bit, he discovered that the kids in his Venturing crew loved the dumplings—despite some initial wariness.
“They weren’t sure the first time I made them,” he recalls, “but after the first taste they said, ‘Man, these are really good.’”
They’re especially popular with his crew during winter camp-outs, Pessink says—and not just for dessert. In fact, you might also call this Granny Smith dish the Daybreak Dumplings. “We’ll have them for breakfast,” Pessink says. “They’re a great get-you-started meal on really cold mornings.”
After reading all of our prize-winning recipes, don’t forget to get a little background on all the foodie folks who judged this edition of Scouting magazine’s Great Tastes in Camp Cooking Contest.
So without further ado, the winners are:
Entrées: 1st Place, Mac McCoy, Sequoia Council assistant district commissioner, Hanford, Calif.; 2nd Place, Ellen Bergman, Pack 673 committee chair, Whittier, Calif.; 3rd Place, Mark F. Schlenker, Troop 123 assistant Scoutmaster, Indianola, Iowa.
Side Dishes: 1st Place, Tom Betancourt, Troop 616 Scoutmaster, Harrington Park, N.J.; 2nd Place, Jason D. Cagle, Troop 169 assistant Scoutmaster, Jacksonville, Fla.; 3rd Place, Mike Gill, Pack 564 Cubmaster, Denver.
Desserts: 1st Place, David J. Barber, Troop 122 assistant Scoutmaster, Shasta Lake, Calif.; 2nd Place, Beverly Jo Antonini, Troop 49 assistant Scoutmaster, Morgantown, W.Va.; 3rd Place, Maren Nicholas, Pack 687 den leader, Dallas, Ga.
Grand Prize winner Martin A. Pessink receives a $400 BSA Supply Division gift certificate. Other winners in each category will receive Supply Division gift certificates: 1st Place, $300; 2nd Place, $200; 3rd Place, $100. In addition, all winners get a six-quart BSA-logo Dutch oven from Lodge Manufacturing and a copy of The Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook (Globe Pequot Press, 2008) by Christine and Tim Conners.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Lemon-Lime Soda Apple Dumplings
2 large Granny Smith apples
1 12-ounce can of lemon-lime soda
2 8-ounce cans of refrigerated crescent rolls
1 stick real butter
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1. Use a Dutch oven large enough to accommodate all apples in one layer because they’ll rise/expand when cooking.
2. Cut each apple into eight pieces. Wrap each piece in one crescent roll.
3. Melt stick of butter in the bottom of the Dutch oven and roll each piece in the melted butter before placing them in the bottom of the pan.
4. Mix cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle the mixture over all apple pieces (mixing the sugar rather than just dusting the tops better incorporates the cinnamon flavor). Carefully add the soda so as not to wash away sugar from the dumplings.
5. Based on oven size, adjust the amount of briquettes on top and bottom and bake until dumplings turn golden brown (in conventional oven about 30 minutes at 350 degrees).
ENTRÈE 1ST PLACE
Spicy Tortilla Soup
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper, seeded and halved
1 green bell pepper, seeded and halved
2 15-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce
2 4-ounce cans chopped mild green chiles, drained
2 cups water
1 15-ounce can chicken broth
1 15-ounce can beef broth
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 bay leaf
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese blend
1 medium-size (about 14 ounces) bag tortilla chips
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 medium avocado, peeled and diced (optional)
1 16-ounce container sour cream (optional)
1. Grill chicken, preferably over an open fire, browning each piece on both sides. (Note: Meat does not require thorough heating during this step because it will finish cooking in the Dutch oven.)
2. Roast red and green bell pepper halves on the grill until lightly charred.
3. Cube the grilled chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and chop the grilled peppers, placing each, along with the tomatoes, onions, and garlic, in a Dutch oven with a capacity of at least six quarts.
4. Add enchilada sauce and green chilies.
5. Pour water, chicken broth, and beef broth into the Dutch oven. Stir and add cumin, chili powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and bay leaf. Stir thoroughly.
6. Cover and cook for two hours using 20 charcoal briquettes under the oven and 10 briquettes on the lid. Refresh the coals as they expire.
7. Remove from heat, remove the bay leaf, and stir shredded cheese into soup.
8. Serve in bowls, topping with a handful of crushed tortilla chips and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
9. If desired, garnish with diced avocado and dollop of sour cream.
Serves: 8 to 10
ENTRÈE 2ND PLACE
3 cups boiled shredded chicken
1 large can green enchilada sauce
12 corn tortillas
1 pint sour cream
1 package dry, ranch dressing mix
3 cups Jack and/or cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup black olives, sliced
1. While the coals heat up, lightly fry both sides of 12 corn tortillas in oil till slightly crispy (this will help them hold up during cooking). Layer tortillas between paper towels to drain off as much oil as possible, and set aside.
2. Combine shredded chicken, a third of the green sauce, sour cream, ranch-dressing mix, olives, and a third of the shredded cheese. Set mixture aside.
3. Line the Dutch oven with aluminum foil to make it easier to clean. Wet bottom of oven with some of the leftover green sauce and layer three tortillas, shredded-chicken mixture, some cheese, and more green sauce.
4. In that order, layer a couple of more times and top with the last of the tortillas, cheese, and green sauce. Cover and cook 30 minutes at 350 degrees until layers are heated through and cheese is melted.
5. Based on oven size, adjust the amount of briquettes on top and bottom—perhaps 4-6 for the bottom and 4 on top.
ENTRÈE 3RD PLACE
Dutch Oven Breakfast Seafood Fritatta
½ of 32-ounce bag of frozen hash browns
3 pats butter or margarine
½ teaspoon salt
dash of black pepper
1 cup imitation crabmeat
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup sour cream
dash of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder and garlic powder
1 cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup Parmesan cheese
dash of paprika
6 shrimp (optional)
1. Spray 10-inch cake pan with cooking oil and place ½ package of hash browns in it.
2. Place 3 pats of butter or margarine on top and sprinkle with salt to taste. Add dash of black pepper. Place a quarter of the crabmeat over layer of hash browns.
3. To bowl, add eggs, whipping cream, and sour cream and mix well. Add dash of cayenne pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Add more spices to taste.
4. Add remainder of crabmeat to mix and pour entire contents of bowl over hash browns. Mixture will look thin at this point, but it rises and cooks up light and fluffy (Note: Egg mixture cooks better in a Dutch oven than beaten eggs alone.) Over egg mix, add mozzarella cheese.
5. For a more visual presentation, arrange 6 peeled jumbo shrimp on top like a pinwheel.
6. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and paprika for color, and place pan in Dutch oven for 30-35 minutes. Cook until top is browned and an inserted knife blade comes out clean.
SIDE DISH 1ST PLACE
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup bacon, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 Spanish onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
½ cup green olives, chopped
4 cups tomato juice
4 cups chicken stock or bouillon
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups rice
1 cup frozen or canned peas
1 jar pimientos (8 ounces)
1 can (15.5 ounces) small white beans (also known as habichuelas blancas)
1. Heat a 14-inch-deep Dutch oven over wood coals or charcoal briquettes. Add the extra virgin olive oil.
2. When oil is hot, add the diced bacon and cook until translucent but not completely done.
3. Add green bell pepper, Spanish onion, garlic cloves, and green olives to bacon fat and olive oil. Sauté for two minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add tomato juice, chicken stock, and salt. Stir to mix and bring liquid to a boil.
5. Cover the Dutch oven and remove some coals to bring liquid to a simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir the mixture at 10 minutes.
6. Rice is done when all liquid is absorbed and rice is soft. If all the liquid is absorbed and rice is not soft, add additional liquid. When rice is done, add peas, pimientos, and beans. Stir and re-cover.
Let sit for about five minutes and serve.
SIDE DISH 2ND PLACE
Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound new potatoes
2 rosemary sprigs, 5 inches each
5 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1. Clean potatoes, dry well, cut each into 6-8 pieces.
2. Bring oil to a simmer in a Dutch oven at 350. Once oil is hot and shimmering (after 3-5 minutes), add dry potatoes, rosemary, garlic, oregano, and basil. Carefully stir to coat in oil and season generously with salt, onion powder, and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Cover Dutch oven with coals on lid and roast. Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t burn and until potatoes have developed a nice crust and appear dark, golden brown (about 35 minutes).
4. Remove rosemary, stir to coat potatoes with oil, and break up garlic cloves.
5. Season as desired and serve.
SIDE DISH 3RD PLACE
¼ cup butter (softened)
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup corn meal
1 cup milk
1. Start 31 charcoal briquettes in a charcoal chimney and let them burn until all turn gray.
2. In a large bowl, mix butter, egg, and sugar. Alternately add milk and flour, then add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.
3. Pour batter into a greased 12-inch Dutch oven with lipped lid. Evenly arrange 10 coals on the bottom, set Dutch oven over them, and place 21 goals on the lid.
4. Let bake for 10 minutes and remove two of the coals from the lid and set aside.
5. Bake with remaining coals for another 20 minutes. When inserted toothpick comes out clean, cornbread is ready.
DESSERT 1ST PLACE
Three Rivers Muddy Delight
1 box Jiffy Devil’s Food Cake Mix
¼ cup baking cocoa
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coconut flakes
8 ounces Cool Whip
1. Preheat large Dutch oven. Mix the box of Jiffy Devil Cake per instructions and set aside.
2. Select a disposable aluminum cake pan, and pinch the edges of the pan to ease removal of the finished cake from oven.
3. Pour prepared batter into the cake pan and place in Dutch oven. Mix “mud” ingredients—baking cocoa, brown sugar, hot water, vanilla, and coconut extract—in a separate bowl and pour over batter.
4. Bake for 30 minutes using 12 coals on top of Dutch oven and 8 coals underneath.
5. Remove lid and sprinkle cake with chocolate chips. Replace the lid and wait 3 minutes for chocolate chips to melt. Spread evenly and sprinkle with coconut flakes.
6. Serve warm with a dollop of Cool Whip and cherries on top.
DESSERT 2ND PLACE
Nonna’s Italian Walnut Cake
10 tablespoons real butter (softened)
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey (plus a little extra for drizzle)
4 eggs (slightly beaten)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour)
1 pear (cored and diced)
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup walnut pieces
1. Spray a 10-inch Dutch oven with cooking spray. Cream together butter, sugar, and salt.
2. Add honey and eggs and mix well. Add the flour and mix to combine.
3. Fold in pears and chopped walnuts. Pour into Dutch oven and sprinkle with walnut pieces.
4. Use 10 charcoal briquettes on top and 8 on bottom. Bake for about 40 minutes. Check the center of the cake with a cake tester to determine if done. Let cool, and drizzle with a little more honey.
DESSERT 3RD PLACE
Toffee Caramel Apple Surprise
8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2⁄3 cup sugar
½ cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
dash of salt
1 jar caramel sauce
1 bag crushed toffee candies (about 1½ cups)
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate pieces
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 cups instant oatmeal
1 cup softened butter
1. Toss apples with lemon juice to prevent browning. Place in foil-lined greased Dutch oven.
2. Mix together sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add to apples and toss to coat thoroughly. Pour caramel sauce over apples and sprinkle with toffee candies and mini chocolate chips.
3. For topping, mix together the brown sugar, flour, and oatmeal. Add the butter and cut with two knives into coarse crumbs. Pour over apple filling.
4. Place cover on Dutch oven. Bake with 12-14 coals on bottom and 16-18 coals on top for one hour.
5. Enjoy as is or with a scoop of French vanilla ice cream.
Meet Our Judges
Tim and Christine Conners
H. Kent Rappleye