A few years ago, I bought a backpacking cookbook, Fork in the Trail, by Laurie Ann March. The main thing I learned from this book was the concept that if you are willing to prepare food at home and dehydrate it, it is possible to have a wide variety of foods for dinner while backpacking or canoeing. This is the idea I have applied here. I took a basic recipe for minestrone and adopted it so that it is useable in camping situations where there is no way to keep food cold and weight is important. The key to making this work is to have a good dehydrator, although in a pinch the same idea can be followed using an oven set at a very low temperature.
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 carrot, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
2 Tbs. olive oil
1-1/2 cups lentils
1 Knorr Homestyle chicken stock tub, or chicken bouillon cube
6 oz. small pasta
8 oz. good quality salami
6 oz grated parmesan cheese.
At home, make the lentil and vegetable base. Put oil in the pan and sauté the minced vegetables until softened. Add the lentils and toss. Add the tomato sauce and water and cook the lentils until soft. The objective is to add just enough water to cook the lentils and not burn them, and not so much to make a soup which will later need to be dried.
Once the lentils are cooked, put them into a dehydrator until dry. This is what they will look like when first put into the dehydrator.
It is a good idea to periodically stir the lentils and break up clumps to help them evenly dry out. This is what they look like when fully dried.
When fully dry put the lentil/vegetable mixture into a sandwich zip lock baggy.
Put the pasta in another sandwich zip lock baggy. Place the lentil baggy, the pasta baggy, the chicken stock tub/cube, the salami, and the parmesan cheese into a gallon size zip lock baggy.
At camp, dice and fry the salami. Add the lentil mixture, the chicken stock tub/cube, and about 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat and let stand until the lentils are rehydrated. Bring back to a boil, add the pasta and additional water as required. Again, the objective is a moderate amount of water – enough to cook the pasta and prevent burning, but not too much since the final product is a one-pot soup. Cook until the pasta is done.
When done put in bowls and serve with the grated parmesan.
Tested at home, took 10 cups of water, 20 minutes on the stove to rehydrate the lentils and vegetables and 10 minutes to cook the pasta.