Most of us are familiar with the tale of the four hobbits who went on a grand adventure and pretty much saved Middle-Earth. But that’s not the whole story. Evidence has been gathered in bits and pieces suggesting the existence of a fifth hobbit, one of unsurpassed cooking skills, whose name is, sadly, long-forgotten. It is even postulated by some scholars that it was this fifth hobbit who lent the infamous box of seasoning to Samwise Gamgee. And probably his pans, as well. Bet he never saw THOSE again…
One summer, years ago, we were preparing for a camping trip. Everyone knows, of course, that food prepared at the fireside is the best (or worst) part of camping. I wanted to do something better than the foil-wrapped baked potatoes that usually come out of the campfire unevenly cooked, and are kind of messy to butter and salt and so forth, anyway. I came up with this recipe, which is almost too simple to write a recipe for, but has been an essential part of any camping trips or summer grilling nights ever since. I named it Hobbit #5 as a simultaneous nod to the great literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien and Lou Bega. After all, what could be more “hobbit” than potatoes, mushrooms, bacon… and campfires?
Hobbit Number 5
4 pounds red potatoes, cleaned and cubed
12 strips of bacon
1 package of sliced mushrooms
1 Vidalia onion, quartered and sliced thinly
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Cook the cubed potatoes in boiling water until almost done. It may seem like a lot of extra work, but you simply must do this. I used to try this sort of thing with raw cubed potato, and it just dooms you to a life of disappointment and misery.
In the meantime, in a large skillet, cook the bacon and drain most of the grease (or just dice it up if you’re using pre-cooked bacon, which works just fine). Throw in the butter, mushrooms, and onion, and saute until the onion is transluscent and both mushrooms and onion have a bit of browning to them.
Lay out two large sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil, and give them a quick spray of Pam. Mix everything together in a large bowl, and then divide between the two sheets of foil.
Fold each packet in half, and fold in the edges at least twice to help prevent leaking.
Now, these can go in the fridge or cooler for heating up later in a firepit or grill, or you can throw them on a grill immediately. They’re really mostly done at this point, the grilling serves mainly to heat them up. Because of the bacon element, they don’t need a whole lot of seasoning, but salt and pepper can be added at the time they are served. The recipe as prepared above makes plenty for six people.
Enjoy!Tags: camping, cooking