We are a nature and outdoorsy family. There is nowhere we’d rather be than outside – boating or fishing at the lake or hiking in the woods. We love just about everything outside, but our favorite has always been camping.
We camp nearly year round, and don’t really care if it’s hot or cold. It’s all the same, we acclimate and adapt.
Traditional camping isn’t the only type of camping that we do either. We also period camp. In other words, or more precisely we camp like we’re living in 1810.
My children are in a Fife & Drum corps. that portrays the 1804-1810 time period re-enacting the Lewis & Clark Expedition that stopped in our city during this time period. There’s lots more history I could share, but I’ll move on to the purpose of the post.
No matter which type of camping we do, we love the family time spent around the campfire.
It’s where we cook our meals, it’s where we gather at the start of the day to plan our activities, or where we end our day roasting marshmallows, telling stories and laughing together.
I love the crackling sound of the fire, the distinct smell that permeates through every fibrous thing in the campsite and lingers for weeks. But most of all I love cooking over the campfire.
Doesn’t matter to me what time of day it is, I always make a full meal for my family using the licking flames to cook to perfection.
I don’t really know what it is about campfire food, but I often wish I could recreate it at home, and when we are unable to get out to go camping, we’ve discovered a way to do that.
We use our fire pit and it’s almost the same. It’s missing the atmosphere, but it’s still outdoors in our backyard and we do even sometimes set the tent up. It’s one of our favorite Sunday evening activities when we have nowhere else to be on Monday.
One of our favorite meals around the campfire is Chicken and Dumplings and we’ve made it at all our campsites and at home on the firepit.
It’s one of those easy meals that just tastes great anytime of day or night and can easily be reheated by just throwing it back in the pot as leftovers.
We sometimes add cut up veggies or even a bag of frozen veggies the next day to make somewhat of a new meal, add some pasta or rice and let it simmer for awhile and you’ve got a great new dish on day 2.
The time I spend with my family around the campfire are some of the best times we have had. I feel like it’s where we get to know each other best.
We talk about the past, we remember funny stories, we share our dreams and secrets, we play games, we eat and we really have uninterrupted family time.
Our lives are so busy, that it’s nice to have a place and a time where we can just sit and linger over our dinner a little longer, listening to the crickets chirp and watching the sun fade into the trees as darkness falls over our camp, and when we’re left with nowhere to go, nowhere to be… that’s when we are truly living.
Tips for Chicken and Dumplings
- I usually bring the dry ingredients for the dumplings already measured and mixed up together in a ziplock baggie. Just add the milk, butter and egg when you’re ready to start kneading.
- Two stockpots are always better than one. We use them to transfer the broth, but also sometimes make double batches for the next day or the day after. We are known to eat Chicken and Dumplings several times while we are camping.
- To store leftovers, simply transfer to an airtight storage container and keep in a cooler with ice until you’re ready to reheat.
- To reheat leftovers, pour the chicken and dumplings into a stockpot and simply reheat over the fire slowly. If they seem dry, add a little water.
- Cheat tip: If you don’t want to bother with homemade dumplings, you can also use store bought crescent dough or biscuit dough. Sometimes we do it in a pinch. It usually makes the broth thicker as it cooks and there aren’t much dumplings left at the end. But it tastes amazing.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Sunday dinner is my favorite meal of the week.
I spend time with my family, I share recipes with my friends and we all celebrate together.
Recipe for Campfire Chicken and Dumplings
Campfire Chicken and Dumplings
- 1 whole fryer chicken 4-5 pounds
- 4 ribs of chopped celery
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1 14½ ounce can chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder
- FOR DUMPLINGS:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- ½ cups milk
- 2 tsp. minced parsley
- 1 tsp. pepper
- In a large stockpot, place the chicken and enough water to cover it. Add the celery, the onion, the chicken broth and the three seasonings and cover. Bring to a boil and then move it off the hot flames and find a place where it can simply simmer for about an hour or longer if you’d like. We take it off at an hour when it’s super hot outside, but if it’s colder weather, you might wish to leave it on an extra hour. It won’t hurt anything either way.
- Remove from the heat. What we do, and you can do whatever you want here, is that we remove the chicken from the broth. This speeds up the cooling process. In order to do that, we bring a big strainer and an extra pot (we always have extra pots for cooking while we’re camping) and we just strain while transferring the broth from one pot to the other. This strains out the veggies which are soggy and not needed by now and any spare bones that may have become separated during the cooking process. However you do it, you need to get the chicken to cool and you need to make sure that the veggies are removed along with other bones.
- Do NOT throw out the chicken broth water. Just cover it in it’s new pot and let it stay as warm as you can but don’t put it back on the fire just yet.
- Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle (we don’t wait long, it’s still pretty hot when we do it, but you can wait longer and it won’t mess anything up) remove the skin from the chicken and pull the meat off the bones of the chicken putting it back in the pot.
- At this point it’s okay to taste the broth and add any other seasonings you might want – more garlic powder, more salt, more pepper, maybe add some parsley.
- Return the broth and chicken to the fire and allow to simmer again.
- Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix up all of the ingredients for the dumplings. Knead by hand for a bit (10 minutes or so) or until everything is mixed up nicely. Now I know lots of traditional recipes tell you to roll them into balls, and if you want to do that, you go right ahead, but we just pull pieces off and drop them into the simmering liquid. We just like it better that way and it fits right into your mouth.
- Allow to simmer and cook about 20 minutes or so longer and then it is ready to serve. Enjoy!