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If you are a seasoned Backpacker, I am sure you are aware of the common “on trail meal”. These typically consist of only a few ingredients, are prepared quickly, or only require the addition of hot water. The phrase I used to preach was “hot and a lot”, the point being that you were getting the fuel needed to keep the wheels turning. Well, I am here to say, there is a better way!
Just because you are 30 miles into the backcountry, tired, and getting camp set up doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the pleasures of a tasty meal. Below is one of my favorite backpacking meals of all time, the calzone. It’s hot, filling, and delicious! Not to mention, you will receive some mad props from your campmates for whipping out this recipe.
- Camp Stove
- Fuel (white fuel preferred)
- Wind Shield (or another method of elevating the pan and dispersing the heat)
- Cooking pan with lid
- Pot grippers
- 1-Gallon plastic bag
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- ½ tsp. Sugar
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp. dry yeast
- ½ cup water
- Pizza sauce mix – dry packet
- Mozzarella Cheese – block or shredded
- Toppings (pepperoni, olives, etc)
- It is recommended to start this process a few hours before you plan to eat. I like to do a little prep at lunchtime the same day. Set aside at least 1 tablespoon of flour for use later. Pour the dry yeast, sugar, salt, and flour into the zip lock bag. Make sure your water is lukewarm and dissolve all of these dry ingredients mixing and kneading in the bag.
- Place the bag and kneaded ingredients in a warm place for a few hours. This will allow the dough to rise. If it is warm outside and you are on-trail, you can simply put it in your pack. If you are mountaineering or winter camping, I like to put the bag in my jacket or under my shirt to keep it warm.
- Once ready, spread out the left-over dry flour on the inner lid of the cooking pan. This gives you a space to spread out the dough. Pull the dough out of the bag and turn it over a few times on the pan to make sure flour gets on every side. Otherwise it will be sticky. Then, spread the dough out just like you would a pizza, making sure you are not tearing it.
- Now, put the dough aside. It’s time to make the fixin’s! Take the sauce packet out, tear the top and follow the directions. Every sauce packet is different.
- Once you have the sauce ready, spread onto the center to outer edges of the dough, being careful not to go all the way to the edge. Spread itthe same way you would on a piece of pizza.
- Thinly slice your mozzarella cheese and throw them on the sauce. Then, add the rest of your chosen toppings. Dip your finger in some water and moisten the edges of the calzone. Once the edges of the calzone are sticky enough, fold the calzone over, locking all contents inside. You may have to press downon the edges to create the best seal.
- Next, heat up thestove to a nice medium temp. Take your windshield and make it into a circle slightly smaller than the bottom of your pan. Put the windshield around the stove and place your pan on top of the windshield. This allows the heat of the stove to not be so concentrated on one area of the pan. Pour in your olive oil. Play with the heat as needed to get the pan and oil hot, then throw on the calzone. Lastly, place the lid on top.
- (Optional) if you have a full metal cooking pan with lid, I like to build a small twiggy fire on top of thelid. This creates equal heat on both sides. If you choose to do this, just be careful not to burn yourself when handling the lid!
- Leave the calzone to cook for about 10 minutes on one side, then open it up, flip it over, and cook another 10 minutes on the other side. Each stove/pan combo is different and will reach varying temperatures, so it is a good idea to check every 5 minutes or so to make sure it is not burning.
- Serve it up and enjoy!
One word to the wise; Be wary of the toppings that you bring into the backcountry. They don't all age well outside of the refrigerator, so this may be a meal better served on night 1 or 2.