Canoe Packs and Canoe Paddles

Loon Island Chili


Portaging the Canoe - A Rite of Passage - Algonquin Provincial Park

Chili is one of our standard canoe trip meals. For spring trips we'll just mix it up ahead of time and freeze it. In late April or early May it will easily last a couple of days frozen and then it is a really simple supper to heat up. For summer trips, I'll cook it up at home and then dehydrate a large bowl per person. It takes a bit longer to prepare at camp when it's dehydrated but still pretty easy. Add in a fresh cheese or pizza bun for each person and they'll be asking for it again on the next trip.



For a single batch:

1 can Hot & Spicy Tomato Sauce (I use Primo)

1 can Kidney beans (White or Red, if I'm making a double batch I use 1 of each)

1 can Heinz Beans in Tomato Sauce

1 cup frozen Corn

1 package Club House Chili Seasoning ( for a double batch use 1 regular and 1 Hot 'n Spicy)

1 lb Extra Lean Ground Beef

Cooking at Home

Break up the ground beef well while cooking it. The smaller pieces dehydrate better.1. Start cooking the ground beef. Make sure you use the flipper to break it up well, especially if you are going to be dehydrating it. On my stove a medium heat and some patience makes for a better result than cranking the heat up.

2. Start opening all the cans and adding them to the cook pot. Make sure you remember to rinse the kidney beans off under cold water. A wire basket strainer is great for this.

3. Check on the ground beef and mix it around to make sure it is all getting cooked thoroughly.

4. Add the corn and chili spice to the pot and mix everything together. You can turn it on low to start simmering. Even though we'll be heating the chili back up at camp, I usually simmer it a bit when I'm making it.

Rinsing the grease off cooked ground beef before dehydrating it.5. Drain the grease from the ground beef. If you are going to be dehydrating the chili, then you also need to either pat the grease off of the ground beef or rinse it under hot water. Using a wire strainer and rinsing under hot water is so easy, that I've doing that even when I'm going to be freezing it.




Double batch of Loon Island Chili ready to freeze.6. If you are freezing the Chili, then scoop it into a Ziploc bag and lay it out on a cookie sheet. The real benefit of the cookie sheet is just that it lets you flatten the bag out so the Chili can freeze faster. Depending on what you'll be packing it in, the flat frozen bag of Chili may pack better than some odd lumpy shape.




When dehydrating meat, or chili containing meat the dehydrator needs to be set at 160F/71C or higher.If you are going to dehydrate the Chili, then spread it out fruit trays of your dehydrator. I find that about 1 bowl per tray works pretty well. Since the Chili has meat in it, you'll need to set the temperature to at least 160°F/71°C. If you don't have a dehydrator, then you can use your oven and just spread the Chili out on a cookie sheet. The dehydrator gives me more consistent results, but as long as I remembered to pay attention then the oven worked fine too.


Preparing at Camp

If you're Chili was frozen, then you can pretty much just dump it in a pot and start heating it up. If it is still pretty frozen, then I find that adding a bit of water to the pot helps to keep it from burning to the bottom until it thaws out and the extra water either boils off or just isn't noticeable.

If you'r Chili was dehydrated, then you'll want to let is soak for about an hour before you start heating it up. You can start heating it sooner, and it does speed up the rehydrating process a bit, but if you're using a campstove then you can save fuel by letting it soak up some water first.


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