Sometimes when you’re in the bush you need lots of calories, but you don’t have lots of time (or energy) left at the end of the day. By prepping the first part of this three part recipe for dinner, you have yourself a hearty, quick breakfast, as well as lunch or dinner the next day with a minimum of work.

Instructions call for a fire, but it works equally well on a camp stove. This recipe is cost effective (a few dollars for all three meals) and flexible, so feel free to add extras (meat is not advisable, as it spoils). It’s ideal for high-energy bush work, such as back-country hunting, morel picking or wood cutting.

Always store your leftovers in as cool a place as possible, with bear safety in mind.


Bush Gypsy’s Banquette

Serves two people, three times

Ingredients:

Part I

2 cups brown rice

1 cup lentils

6 cups water or broth

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

4 carrots

Spices to taste

Part II

2 eggs

Bacon (optional)

Part III

2 eggs

1 cup potato flakes


Method

Part 1: Sticky Pot Rice and Lentils

  • Dice onion, garlic and carrots (and other vegetables, if available and desired).
  • Heating a heavy bottomed pot over the fire, brown vegetables in butter for a few minutes until onions caramelize, then add water and rice.
  • Cook rice and lentils together with the water. Add a bouillon cube, broth or spices to taste if desired as it cooks.
  • Once the rice and lentils are cooked and all liquid is absorbed (time will vary depending on heat of fire, a low simmer is best) remove pot from fire.
  • Serve with hot sauce or condiment of choice.
  • When fully cool* set aside leftovers

Part II: Bacon and Egg Stir Fry

  • Put a heavy-bottomed pan or skillet in the morning fire and allow to heat.
  • If using bacon, cook in the skillet, remove when crisp. Pour off grease and reserve for later use.
  • Oiling the hot skillet (either with butter, oil or, even better, some of the remaining bacon fat) throw in half of the remaining rice and lentil mix. Stir frequently until rice is nice and crisp.
  • Make a “nest” in the centre of the pan by pushing the rice away with a metal spoon, crack one egg per person in the pan. Cover the pan to baste until cooked to over medium or over hard **.
  • Reserve the remaining rice.

Part III: Bush Galettes

  • For the remaining meal, add the potato flakes and eggs to the remaining rice and lentils. Add in any additional spices or condiments you have available or desire (hot sauce, mustard or balsamic vinegar, for example).
  • Mix together until it forms a “dough” – it will be loose, but should hold it’s shape when rolled into a ball, not unlike a raw oatmeal cookie. If the batter is too dry, add a little water. If too wet, add more potato flakes.
  • Roll into balls and press into palm-sized cakes. While the cakes are being made, put a skillet on the fire. Bacon fat or butter works best here, but oil will also do. Grease pan generously.
  • Fry the cakes in the oil until they are very crisp, turning once. Cakes should be cooked all the way through, quite hot on the inside, about 7 minutes per side over medium flame.
  • Eat very hot. Especially good as an accompaniment to fresh-caught fish.

*Never put away hot rice, as is it can cause dangerous food-borne pathogens to grow. Always practice safe food handling, just as you would at home.

**Eggs will keep unrefrigerated outdoors for 1-2 weeks if kept in the shade in a reasonably cool place. However, it is not advisable to eat them “runny” at this stage.