On a cool evening, nothing sounds quite as enticing as a big pot of stew. Hearty ingredients, fragrant spices, and deeply rich flavor. Stews are great one-pot camping meals because they can be adapted to include any leftover ingredients you might have on hand. A few extra potatoes? Stick or two of celery? Half bag of baby carrots? Into the stew it goes!
For this vegetable stew, we really strove to coax a deep rich flavor out of an entirely vegan ingredient lineup. We figured the best way to do that was to cook everything in layers and let their flavors build off one another.
In terms of spices, we leaned heavily into some classic old-world flavors like red wine, thyme, bay leaves. We also give it a shot of umami with the addition of soy sauce (or liquid aminos).
While you could theoretically make this stew in any large pot, we prefer using a cast-iron Dutch oven for a couple of reasons. First off, cast iron does an incredible job retaining heat, so if you’re cooking with a camp stove, you’ll need less fuel to maintain temperature.
A Dutch oven is also perfect for cooking over a campfire, which we would highly recommend if possible. Like with most any stew, the longer you cook it, the more robust and flavorful it will become. So get your Dutch oven set up over the campfire at a low simmer and we guarantee you’ll be in for a treat.
Why We Love It:
↠ Great way to use up leftover ingredients
↠ Deep, robust flavor profile means you won’t miss the meat
↠ Cooks in one pot and can be ready in under 30 minutes
How to make Dutch oven stew
Start off by heating a tablespoon of oil in your Dutch oven over medium-high heat. If you’re cooking over a fire, set the Dutch oven on top of the grill grate for this phase if possible. There’s a lot of stirring that needs to happen and it best to have the pot on a solid surface.
Add in the mushrooms and saute until browned (1). Add the onions, celery, carrots, potatoes, and salt (2). [NOTE: If you are in a rush, the smaller you chop your ingredients the faster they will cook – especially the potatoes]
Once everything starts to pick up a little color, add in the tomato paste and stir for a minute before adding in the flour. Stir to coat the vegetables in the flour (3), then add the red wine, and liquid aminos or soy sauce. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as the liquid goes in, to lift up the fond that has developed. That stuff is pure flavor.
Simmer until the red wine has almost entirely evaporated. Add in the vegetable stock, thyme, and bay leaf. If you’re using the campfire tripod, now is the time to hang the pot up. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the cover and continue cooking. This will allow the liquid to evaporate and the sauce to thicken (4). Once the vegetables are tender, it’s ready to eat!
↠ Dutch Oven: One of the most versatile pieces of camp cooking equipment, a cast iron Dutch oven is the perfect vessel for a long slow simmering stew.
↠ Lodge Tripod: If you want to simmer a stew in a Dutch oven over a campfire, then you may want to pick up one of these tripods. This will allow you to hang the Dutch oven over the fire at various heights, thereby allowing you to dial in the temperature.
↠ Heat Resistant Gloves: If you’re dealing with a campfire or hot cast iron, we always recommend having a pair of heat resistant gloves.