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Dutch Oven Cooking for a Scouting Trip: Chicken Cacciatore


Liz Childers

When you take your kids camping, what is your biggest worry? That they will get scared at night? That they won’t be able to sleep on the ground?

Or does it have something to do with feeding them? Since many kids are picky eaters, this makes sense. It can be hard enough to feed them when you have all the amenities of a fully stocked kitchen, much less are at a campsite.

What you need is a go-to recipe that is hearty and flavorful, but is easy to pack. Most importantly, you want something that the kids can help with and will appeal to most everyone – this last bit is especially important if you have a full Scout troop on a trip.

I took this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis and adapted it for Dutch oven cooking. It will still taste like a rustic, gourmet Italian meal that all the Scouts can enjoy, but it’s unbelievably easy and also simply doubled!

Packing your food well is key to making sure it’s safe to eat and has not exploded in a pack. With this recipe, pack the chicken in a cooler. If you want to chop the garlic and onion in advance, store them together in a plastic bag and also put them in the cooler. The flour, salt, and pepper can go in one gallon-sized Ziploc bag. I like to pack my oil, herbs, and spices in travel-sized medicine bottles for camping. For this recipe, the oregano, rosemary, and thyme can be in one medicine bottle, while the basil can go in another. The rest of your ingredients are canned or bottled, so they’ll pack safely.

Regarding the wine in the recipe: the alcohol will, of course, burn off in the cooking so it’s no problem to serve to the children. Look for small cooking bottles of wine at your store; the plastic bottles come in 4-packs and each bottle contains one cup, which is perfect for this. If you’d rather leave the wine out, just substitute equal amounts chicken broth.

Chicken Cacciatore
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup flour
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbs olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¾ cup dry white wine
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
¾ cup canned chicken broth
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 ½ tsp dried rosemary
1 ½ tsp dried thyme
2 tbs dried basil

Add oil to your 12” Dutch oven and preheat it to 350°. While that is heating up, prepare the chicken for browning. Place chicken in the Zip-lock bag of flour, salt and pepper. Seal the bag tightly and shake so that the chicken gets fully coated.

Using tongs, lay the chicken flat on the bottom of the Dutch oven. If it does not all fit, brown in batches. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, and then transfer the chicken to a plate.

Add the onion and garlic and sauté for until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the wine – or ¾ cup of the chicken broth if you are substituting – and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the chicken broth, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Return the chicken to the Dutch oven and turn to fully coat in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to cook until the chicken is done, about 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken with tongs and put on individual plates. If you want a thicker sauce, let it boil for a few minutes longer. Then, spoon the sauce on top of chicken, sprinkle with a pinch of basil, and enjoy!