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The Enlightened Paddler: Easy recipes with dry foods (part 2)

By Anne L. Desjardins

Last month, we looked at different procedures for drying foods safely and effectively since it is the easiest way to carry a lot of items for a multi-day paddling trip without adding too much bulk and weight while making sure foods won't spoil during the trip. Now let's have some fun and get creative by trying different easy recipes. But before testing your skills with this new technique, you might want to go through our general guidelines for drying foods article from last month.

Recipes

Spicy Asian Chicken Jerky
Using pre-sliced meat for fondue is the simplest way to prepare jerky.

  • 1 lb chicken Chinese fondue meat
  • 1 / 2 cup soy sauce or Tamari
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 3 crushed garlic cloves
  • Dash of hot sauce (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp crushed coriander seeds
Preparation
Mix all ingredients together and let sit, covered, in the fridge for at least 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Preheat the oven to 130 F and use a thermometer to make sure the temperature remains constant. Remove the meat from the marinade. Pat dry. Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap. Place the slices flat, side by side, leaving a small space between each for air circulation. Place in the oven and turn meat every hour to make sure it will dry evenly. Chicken is ready when it is still a bit flexible but tends to be brittle (3 to 5 hours).

You can make an excellent Chinese soup by adding 4 tbsp of this jerky to a bowl of boiling chicken stock filled with rice vermicelli soaked 5 minutes in stock and garnished with dry onions, carrots, celery, parsley, chives and a dash of dark sesame oil.


New England Beef Jerky
  • 1 pound flank steak (no visible fat) very thinly sliced
  • 2 cups beer
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp each crushed thyme, marjoram, parsley, chives
Preparation
Mix all ingredients together. Proceed as with the Asian chicken jerky.


Italian Beef (or deer) Jerky

  • 1 pound flank steak or deer (no visible fat) very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup canned beef broth (such as Campbell's)
  • 2 dry shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp crushed chilies (to taste)
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 tsp dry fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 3 tsp dry parsley
Preparation
Mix all ingredients together. Proceed as with the Asian chicken jerky.


Supremely simple vegetable-turkey spaghetti sauce

For best results, and to speed up the drying process, all ingredients must be cut in very thin and small pieces.

  • 1 pound extra-lean ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, very finely diced
  • 1 dry shallot, very finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed, very finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, with leaves, very finely diced
  • 1 carrot, very finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, very finely diced
  • 2 tbsp powdered beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 tsp dry basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups of your favorite extra-thick tomato sauce
Preparation
In a non-stick skillet that's very hot, fry the turkey WITH NO OIL, until half-cooked. Lower the heat to medium, add the vegetables and continue to cook until onion becomes translucent. Add beef broth, spices, salt and pepper and continue to cook a few more minutes. Remove from heat. Put the mixture in a fine sieve to eliminate most of the liquid and the grease from the turkey. Pour back in the skillet. Add tomato sauce, mix well and let cook over low heat for about 1 hour, or until very thick. The thicker the sauce, the shorter it will take to dry.

When the spaghetti sauce is cooked, pour it in a pan lined with plastic wrap. Make sure the thickness is about half an inch or even a little thinner, for best results. Put in the oven at 130 F and let dry for 4 to 6 hours. Once ready, the sauce looks like thick rubber. Remove from the plastic wrap, turn over and repeat the drying process until the sauce becomes almost totally dry. Put in the food processor and blend to obtain a coarse crumble. The mixture should be dry to touch. If not, put it back in the oven for one extra hour.


Dry shrimps

Very easy to do: just buy cooked popcorn shrimps. Pat dry and place on a cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap. Dry in the oven at 130 F for about 2 hours or until totally dry, stirring regularly to allow the shrimps to dry evenly.


Dry leeks, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers

These are the simplest vegetables to dry because they don't need to be blanched beforehand. Just cut them in very thin slices or pieces, pat dry and line on cookie sheets covered with plastic wrap. Place in the oven at 130 F, turning them regularly until totally dry, except for tomatoes, which tend to remain leathery. For tomatoes, use the Italian variety, since they contain the least water and the most taste. You can add a pinch of salt and a few drops of Balsamic vinegar on each half tomato.


Dry broccoli, carrots, celery, cabbage, etc.

These vegetables dry well too, as long as you blanch them before. Cut in small pieces and blanch between one to 15 minutes, or until the sides of the vegetable become translucent. Pat dry and proceed just as you would for the other vegetables. Takes between 4 to 10 hours, depending of the size of the vegetable and the way it's cut. The thinner the cut, the less time it takes to dry!


Dry fruits

Since dry fruit are readily available at any supermarket, Ive never bothered to dry them, except for cherries, which are very expensive, awfully hard to find dry, and so delicious. Just like olives, they must be washed, pitted with a special tool and cut in half. Then dry them at 130 F for 8 to 10 hours, or until dry, but still a bit sticky. This is due to their high content of sugar.


Cheese

Because of its high fat content, it is a bit of a hassle to dry. I usually buy dry romano or parmegiano. But some people I know like to dry aged cheddar for its different taste. They line a plastic covered cookie sheet with a few pieces of paper towels and change them regularly during the drying process, stirring regularly, until the sheets come out with no fat at all. This takes a while but the result is interesting if you are a cheese lover.


Shrimp chowder (Four large portions)

  • 3/4 cup dry shrimps
  • 8 tbsp dry leeks
  • 8 tbsp dry onion
  • 6 tbsp dry mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp dry parsley
  • 4 tbsp dry celery
  • 4 tbsp dry carrots
  • 2 tbsp dry red bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp curcuma powder
  • 1 pinch dry chili pepper
  • 1 cup + 4 tbsp dry milk powder
  • 8 tbsp dry cheese
  • 8 tbsp dry potato flakes
  • 6 cups chicken stock made with 6 tsp of chicken powder and water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation
Put all ingredients, except milk, potato and cheese in a large pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy.


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More Articles

 • Dehydrating Food for Paddling Trips
 • How to Dry Food (part I)
 • Better Food Choices for Better Paddling Performance
 • Camp Cooks: Don't forget dessert!
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