Friday, June 19, 2015

Recipe Week: Gunk a la Erin

& is used with permission.
Many, many years ago I was active in the Scouts, and I invented a dish on a weekend campout. 

Well, "invented" may be too strong a word. More like "I had to cook lunch and it was the last meal we ate before leaving, and I didn't want to haul cans of food home, so I threw stuff together and it turned out to to be strangely edible."

How edible?  I make it for myself on a regular basis. I once even cooked it for a date, and it was well-received. 

  • 1 pound ground beef (ground sirloin if you want to be fancy)
  • 1 can Veg-All
  • 1 can new potatoes
  • 1 can alphabet soup
  • Whatever spices you can scrounge and/or package of instant onion soup mix
  • Sliced bread or instant biscuits

  1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet.
  2. Open cans of soup, Veg-All and new potatoes. 
  3. When meat is browned, dump contents of cans (including any water) onto meat. 
    • The order that the cans are added is unimportant. 
  4. Mix thoroughly, mashing potatoes into diced chunks with whatever cooking implement you have handy. 
    • If you want to go to the extra effort, you could pour the water onto the meat, then die the potatoes before adding them... but this is a camping meal, so why go to extra effort?
  5. Stir at medium heat until it's a thick hash and all the juices have commingled and the extra water has boiled off. 
  6. Add any desired seasoning. 
Serve over toasted bread as an open-faced sandwich, or alongside biscuits made at the same time the meat was browning. 

This dish is thick and hearty, so experiment with flavor and texture by using different soups or veggies. But in my experience, the can of soup is absolutely needed to give the dish its texture.

It also pairs surprisingly well with an earthy red wine like a Malbec or a Syrah/Shiraz

If your date asks what this dish is named and you do not want to call it "Gunk", feel free to use the more poetic name "Camper's Delight". 

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