I remember my Mom saying “March winds bring April showers”, but March always seems windy and rainy to me—if it isn’t raining, it’s snowing, or thawing. That sort of mixed and miserable weather seems to chill me to the core no matter how good my layers are. I find that the only way to get rid of that bone chilling feeling is to have a hot and hearty dinner. That’s where soup comes in.

I’m not talking about Cup-a-Soup or other pre-packaged fare but about homemade soup that makes you feel warm, cozy, and satisfied. Soups dry and rehydrate beautifully which makes them perfect for the trail. The beauty of soup is the broth which contains all the goodness and nutrition from the vegetables.

So with that in mind, here are two of my favorite soup recipes. Both are inspired by the tastes of Italy and use toasted or stale bread to add to the heartiness of the dish.

Pizza Soup

Dehydration Time: 7-12 hours
Makes 4 servings

I know, it sounds odd, but this soup is incredibly yummy both on and off the trail. It’s also a great one for the little backpackers. You’ll want to have this during the first three or four days of a trip so the bread and cheese doesn’t spoil, but don’t worry if the bread gets stale or squashed in your pack.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
2 carrots, coarsely grated
1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
8-oz shelf stable pepperoni
1/4 – 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese
4 1-inch thick slices of Italian bread

At Home
Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until they just start to take on color and they are softened. Add the garlic and stir for one minute, being careful not to over cook it. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, carrots, and oregano. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Measure the soup and write this measurement on a sticky note. Spread the soup on lined dehydrator trays and dry for 7-12 hours or until no moisture remains. Put the soup and the sticky note in a ziplock bag. Right before your trip, pack the cheese and the pepperoni. Leave the pepperoni in its original packaging. Pack 4 slices of Italian bread.

At Camp
Add enough boiling water to the soup ingredients in a pot to equal the measurement on your sticky note. Be sure to account for and add your dried ingredients to the rehydration container prior to adding the water. You can always add more water if you need to. Let rehydrate for 20 minutes or until fully rehydrated. Meanwhile, slice the cheese and chop the pepperoni, then set aside.

Once the soup has rehydrated, heat it through over your backpacking stove. Put a piece of the bread in the bottom of each bowl. You can toast it over the flame of your stove first if you like. Then add the hot soup, the pepperoni pieces, and top with 1/4 of the cheese.

Tips
You can also add green peppers, mushrooms, or any of your other favorite pizza toppings to the soup when you are cooking it at home. Just make sure that the pieces are small enough to dehydrate properly.

If you don’t want to use the Italian bread slices you could make the soup without them and serve with pita or bannock bread at camp. You could also add a few handfuls of orzo or other small pasta.

Ribollita

Dehydration Time: 7-12 hours
Makes 4 servings

This is my version of a Tuscan meal that is usually made with leftovers from two or three days prior. The seasoning is simple because of the flavors imparted by the hearty greens.

1 1/2 cups canned cannellini beans or white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup vegetable stock
3 small fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 large russet or baking potato, peeled and diced
1/4 head savoy cabbage, coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch Swiss chard, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
1/2 bunch dark green kale, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
4 1/2-inch thick slices Italian bread

At Home
Pulse the beans and vegetable stock in a food processor with the sage leaves, but don’t make the mixture smooth as you want some pieces to remain for texture. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until it softens. Then add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the remaining vegetables, cabbage, Swiss chard, and kale. Sauté for another minute and stir gently, but constantly. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the bean mixture to the pot, stir to combine, and cook for 40 minutes or until the soup is nice and thick.

Measure the soup and write this measurement on a sticky note. Spread the soup on lined dehydrator trays and dry for 7-12 hours or until no moisture remains. Put the soup and the sticky note in a ziplock bag. Right before your trip, pack 4 slices of Italian bread.

At Camp
Add enough boiling water to the soup ingredients in a pot to equal the measurement on your sticky note. Be sure to account for and add your dried ingredients to the rehydration container prior to adding the water. You can always add more water if you need to. Let rehydrated for 20 minutes or until fully rehydrated.

Once the soup has rehydrated, heat it through over your backpacking stove. Put a piece of the bread in the bottom of each bowl. You can toast it over the flame of your stove first if you like and it is better this way. Then add the hot soup to your bowl and serve.

As you can see from the recipes above, it is easy to make your favorite soups trail friendly by dehydrating them. In fact, soup is one of the simplest meals to dehydrate and the beauty is that it makes for a very easy dinner in the camp kitchen because the bulk of the work is done at home.

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Leave a Reply