Low Sodium Camping Recipe 1: Dutch-Oven Pot Roast with Summer Vegetables

Derrick had an unfortunate “event” in his life that tainted him beyond what some might suspect. He was likely no older than eight when he and his family went camping. After a long day of many fun activities, they came back to a dinner they had been cooking in the Dutch oven buried under some charcoal. With much anticipation and the rumbling of their stomachs in the background they slowly uncovered the oven and removed the lid. Expecting a perfectly cooked meal, and did I mention they are hungry, instead they open the lid to reveal a blackened mass of burnt food. In fact, it wasn’t even recognizable as food because it had burnt completely down where it was only charred remains stuck around the oven. Derrick’s face fell, and his stomach turned in discontent. The anxiously anticipated “perfect” meal had let them down. He, in turn, blamed the Dutch oven and never cooked in it again.

Until I came along with my brilliant idea to try something in the Dutch oven while on our camping excursion! I figure, it’s basically a non-electric slow cooker right? Why not?!

When I told Derrick he immediately questioned the process and speculated failure (though he didn’t say that, I felt the vibes of his hesitation). But I praddled on with this idea, and was sure it was going to work out.

I prepped the meat while still at home, and froze it good and solid. Then I took the rest of the veggies and broth with me on the trip to assemble at the camp site. Of course, I had skimmed (famous last words!!) several recipes that talked about Dutch ovens prior to going to camp, but failed to save anything that I could reference while there. Stupid.

So, true to the Hicks’ style – we “winged-it” and made it up. I usually do this anyway when I didn’t fully read the recipe or if I get impatient with the process. We had NO idea what we were doing, but because of Derrick’s skepticism of the process, he was tenacious in checking the food every 30 minutes or so. We even went rafting later and he paddled us along, quickening the trip, and when we got back to camp he made a bee-line for the Dutch oven and his anticipated meal. So, it’s probably due to Derrick that it turned out so fabulous, but it really really did. I spent the afternoon sick with a little flu bug, so I didn’t get to try it, but there wasn’t even a scrap to be had after the family made their way through it. And that is saying something guys! They all raved about the food, even knowing that it would make me wish (even more!) that could keep something down.

Because I was sick (and for goodness sake, we were camping) we completely forgot to take a picture of the dish. But I assure you, it was delicious as commented by the family and their raving reviews. My sister in law even commented that they might have to dig a hole in their back yard to make it again, so that is saying quite a lot.

Low Sodium Dutch Oven Pot Roast with Summer Vegetables – 190mg per serving
For the Beef:

  • 1 boneless beef roast (approximately 3lbs) – 900mg
  • 6 minced cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Pepper to taste

For the Rest:

  • 3 cups low sodium chicken stock – 240mg
  • 5 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into long wedges
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, husked and chopped into thirds
  • 3 cups fresh green beans, ends trimmed and snapped into thirds

AT HOME: Prep the meat by trimming it and then rubbing it with the garlic, rosemary, oil and pepper. Add to a zip lock bag and remove the extra air. Freeze for at least a day before heading out on the camping trip. Place in the cooler and keep cold until you are ready for cooking, but it will likely defrost in there as the days wear on.

AT CAMP: In your Dutch Oven, add the (defrosted) meat, vegetables and the beef broth. Place on about 10 warmed charcoal coals for approximately 45 minutes until you get it boiling. Then, remove it from the coals and monitor a “slow cook” for about 4 additional hours or until the meat is cooked throughout. If we would have left it on the coals (we also placed about 4 on top) it would have been ready in about 2-3 hours with careful surveillance.  For some reason, I thought it was going to take longer, so I had us put it on about 5 hours before dinner – silly me.

Serve out of the Dutch oven warm. Enjoy!

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