Our field notes

Bangin Beef Stew Over An Open Flame In A Dutch Oven.

August 17, 2020

There is something primaeval about cooking over an open flame. You could sense the spirit of adventure the old explorers must have felt way back.


On a recent trip to our family bach in Turangi on the central plateau of the North Island, we decided to take the camping kit including a fire pit and cast iron pot to cook a family meal
over a fire.

We adopted a super simple recipe from Jamie Olivers  – 5 Ingredients cookbook for use with a cast iron pot over a fire pit.   


4 mixed-colour peppers
I heaped teaspoon allspice
600g lean stewing beef
10 fresh bay leaves
8 cloves of garlic

Light the fire and let burn down to get some nice hot ember. Place a large dutch oven (cast iron pot) over the fire and let heat up for a good 10 min. Remove seeds from the peppers and chop into fingers, then place in the pot with a good dash of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and black pepper and the allspice. Chop the beef a similar size and stir into the pan with the bay leaves.

Crush in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher and fry for 2 minutes, tossing regularly.

Add 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar and 500ml of water to the pan. Cover, then let cook over the fire for 2 hours, or until dark and sticky. Loosen with a splash of water, if needed, mix up,
taste, season to perfection, and serve.

Check with the local fire department to see if open fires are allowed in the area in which you plan to set up your fire pit. Once your fire burns out, douse the ashes with water, stir, and douse again making certain no live embers or burning cinders remain. Check the bonfire area at intervals for the next few hours to make certain the fire is completely out.