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There is no reason to sacrifice fine cuisine on an overnight backpacking trip. Most of the food preparation can be done ahead of time which makes it simple to cook when you arrive at your backcountry destination.

I took a recent hike on the Florida National Scenic Trail on the Eglin reservation to the Pearl campsite just south of the Shoal River Bridge on State Road 85 near Crestview.

The hike was less than a mile and I knew I could comfortably pack more weight if I needed to bring more luxurious items. Usually my more luxurious items are food related.

I decided to cook a chicken and sausage stew, slow-cooked in beer. These items are very heavy, but my taste buds were screaming for a hot and hearty meal since it would be a cool night.

 Chicken and sausage stew recipe:

1 cup diced chicken thighs 1 cup diced Conecuh sausage ½ cup diced carrots ½ cup diced potatoes (any variety will work) ½ cup chopped cilantro 12 ounces beer ( I used Bud Light) 1 tsp Better than Boullion chicken stock paste 1 tsp chopped Chipotle pepers in Adobo sauce 1 tsp cumin

Combine all ingredients except for the beer in a quart sized freezer plastic bag. If you are hiking on a warm day, freeze the bag the day before you leave to ensure freshness when you arrive at your campsite.

When you are ready to eat, dump your bag of stew into a pot. Pour the whole can of beer into the pot and cook for at least one hour.

Let it rest until it cools, then devour and enjoy!


Nick Tomecek is the digital content editor for the Northwest Florida Daily News. He is an experienced backpacker originally from Kentucky. You can reach Nick at ntomecek@nwfdailynews.com

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