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  • Kayla Sulak

What's Cooking Around the Campfire This Autumn?

Ahhh, autumn is here. It's that beautiful time of year when the air cools, the trees change, and days gradually get shorter. It's also when I'm left to cook and take food pictures in the dark, but hey, that won't stop me. Not sure about you, but those cooler temps are making me feel more hungry.

Recently I made something especially yummy, and it seemed like the perfect dish to feature in my very first blog post about campfire cooking! With half a can of organic pumpkin puree to use up, and a hankering for some skirt steak, I decided to make this for dinner: Korean grilled skirt steak, and a spicy pumpkin soup with ginger and shiitake mushrooms.

Skirt steak is my new favorite cut of meat to grill up, because of the tenderness and short cooking time, plus the fat content which makes it really buttery and flavorful. If you're in/near Bend, Oregon, our locally owned Newport Avenue Market offers some seriously good skirt steak and other meats.

What makes up Korean flavors, you ask? This steak recipe is inspired by Bulgogi beef, which is a Korean marinaded beef with some of my favorite flavors: soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and toasted sesame oil, among other ingredients... I usually like to add some chopped scallions, chili flakes, garlic, and rice vinegar to my recipe.

I had half a can of pumpkin puree to use up, after making some campfire pumpkin pie recently (pictured at the bottom of page), so a savory pumpkin soup with some Asian flavors seemed like the perfect thing to pair with this Korean marinaded skirt steak. Indeed--it was a fabulous, finger-licking-good combination to enjoy by the fire, while camping on a crisp fall evening.

Korean Grilled Skirt Steak and Spicy Pumpkin Soup

(Korean grilled skirt steak marinading; spicy pumpkin soup in the making)

Korean Steak Marinade (for two 1/3-1/2lb skirt steaks; serves two people)

4 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce

1 Tbsp brown sugar (packed) or coconut sugar

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

White portion of 1 scallion, chopped

Pinch of red chili flakes (omit for less spicy flavor)

Marinade for at least an hour, then set on a grilling rack over hot coals for ~5 minutes per side. Grilling time varies by how well done you like your steak. I like mine medium to medium-rare, i.e. with a decent amount of pink in the middle. Add a few minutes per side if you prefer your steak well done. As a rule of thumb after grilling steak, allow it to sit for a few minutes off the grill (this keeps your steak much juicier) before you start cutting into it.

Grilled skirt steaks

Pumpkin Soup with ginger and shiitake mushrooms (serves two)

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 sweet onion, very finely diced

1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced (add more or less, depending on how much you like ginger... the recipe would be still good without ginger, if you're one of those people who loathes the stuff)

3 shiitake mushrooms, very finely diced

1 clove garlic, finely diced

1/2 cube bouillon

1 cup water

1/2 can pumpkin puree

pinch of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp dried parsley

Splash of cream, or milk of choice

Dash of hot sauce (omit for less spicy flavor)

To cook this soup, you can use your propane stove--or, what I did was place a metal pot on a grilling rack, suspended over hot campfire coals (heck, I try to save my propane when I can!)

Start by sauteeing the onions in a few tablespoons of oil. After a few minutes when the onions are translucent, add the ginger, mushrooms, and garlic; cook on medium-low for about five minutes, until tender. Add water and bouillon; heat to a simmer and dissolve the bouillon. Add pumpkin puree and spices; simmer for a few minutes while stirring constantly. Add more water if it needs thinning, or simmer uncovered for a while to thicken, until desired consistency is reached. Before serving, add a splash of cream and a dash of hot sauce. Stir, serve, and enjoy!

Spicy pumpkin soup with ginger and shiitake mushrooms

Here are a few other autumn dishes I've made recently:

Tuna Noodle Casserole with Cremini Mushrooms and Serrano Chilies (with a cheesy breadcrumb topping)

(Tuna noodle casserole by the campfire)

One-Pan Chicken Skillet with Bacon, Yams, Brussel Sprouts

(One-pan autumn chicken skillet)

Cheesy Potato Broccoli Soup (garnished with bacon crumbles)

(Cheesy potato broccoli soup)

Turkey Pear Gouda Sandwich (with dijon and red onions; grilled)

(Grilled turkey sandwich)

Breakfast Yam Skillet with Diced Ham and Fried Egg

(Breakfast yam skillet)

Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

(Campfire pumpkin pie from scratch)

Click here for a short YouTube video I made about grilling skirt steak on a campfire. Follow my Instagram account @hercampkitchen to stay up to date on what's cooking, and to receive camp cooking tips and recipes!

#food #Autumn

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