A couple weeks ago I went camping in Joshua Tree National Park, and was introduced to the breakfast lovingly called “Slop” that my friend Mel has made for friends in the past. It was unanimously decided that she would forever be in charge of breakfast on any future camping trip, and, despite it’s unattractive name, I urge you to give this a try. Whether cooking over a camp fire or in a skillet at home, this was an easy and simple breakfast that would satisfy just about anyone. As our very first Guest Blogger, here’s what Mel had to say:
Everyone loves camping. Being outside under the stars, enjoying food cooked over an open fire, waking up to the fresh mountain air. You walk out into the beautifully cool morning air, and sit down to a beautiful breakfast of—- cereal and granola bars?!?! No, no no!! I love breakfast, and no outdoorsy mountain setting is going to take that piping hot egg-y goodness away from me! But what to do- you certainly can’t poke a stick through an egg!
Easy! Most campsites come with a grate that sits over the fire. And, in some cases you can bring one along or “build” one. It’s easy enough to get a grate-like object and set it up on some rocks over the fire. Add a Cast Iron Skillet and VOILA! Breakfast! It may seem a bit elementary to combine potatoes, eggs and sausage into a breakfast, but lets be real- you’re camping. You can’t exactly whip up some Eggs Florentine or a nice quiche. It may be simple, but it will certainly be more delicious than trail mix.
This breakfast, endearingly called “Slop” by my family, is our version of what Adrianna calls a “go-to dish”. It is incredibly easy, can be made countless ways, and is terribly hard to screw up. And- best of all, it feeds an army while only using one pan! It can also be halved, quartered, third-ed (is that word?) to fit your breakfast needs. When I was a kid, my family made this everytime we went camping. Now, when I visit home it is always our Sunday morning breakfast.
Below is a traditional “Slop” made family style with Spicy Breakfast Sausage. The great thing about “Slop” (and the reason for it’s appetizing name) is not only can you substitute any “meat” to satisfy your company or cooking environment– you can add anything you want to it really! I myself am not a huge Spicy Breakfast Sausage fan, so I substituted bacon pieces by cooking the bacon first until crispy and crumbling it in to the final scramble. In the camping version photographed here, I simply left the bacon as a side dish to satisfy a vegetarian friend amongst us (okay, its Caroline!). You could also substitute Veggie Sausage or lose the meat all together, as this is still a satisfying breakfast. Just be sure when using a substitute you add a generous portion of Crushed Red Pepper since a little kick really sets this breakfast apart. And, when not cooking with meat- be sure to grease your pan in order to really cook up those potatoes.
Recipe by Melissa Fecher
This standard recipe feeds approximately 4-6 folks. Serving size may change depending on how hungry your guests are- and let me tell you, “Slop” goes quick! In my experience, I always err on the side of too much food- as its delicious reheated!! Also, you’ll need a pretty large pan. It fits pretty well in a 12 inch cast iron skillet for camping, but my parents use a gigantic teflon pan when they make this at home.
1 32oz bag of Potatoes O’Brien**
1 roll spicy breakfast sausage, veggie sausage, or 1 package of bacon
2 tablespoons butter (only if you aren’t using real meat)
Salt and Pepper
Red pepper flakes
**Although I haven’t tried it yet, I assume you could simply substitute some diced potatoes and a chopped red or green pepper for the frozen Potatoes O’Brien and achieve the same results.
In a large pan or skillet, begin to cook meat over medium heat. Note that when camping the easiest way to control heat is to simply move your pan. Fire may be hard to control but the proximity of your food isn’t- “Medium Heat” just means enough to get this cooking. If it’s burning- move it away! If nothing is starting to sizzle, put it right over the flames. Use Caution though- as overzealous flames may lick over the top of your pan and start the grease on fire! Not that that’s ever happened to me!
When the meat is browned, drain most of the grease. If using a meat substitute, be sure to add a little butter or cooking spray to the pan. If using Bacon, remove from skillet and set aside on some paper towels- leaving some grease. Add the Potatoes O’Brien to the pan and allow to cook through (this step is going to take the longest).
The Potatoes O’Brien (seemingly by design) never really get browned, but you do want to make sure they’re cooked thoroughly. Nothing ruins a beautiful breakfast like little pieces of half frozen potatoes. While they’re cooking up add a little salt and pepper to season, and as many red pepper flakes as you’d like– usually a nice dusting over the top of the potatoes will do.
When they are nice and warm go ahead and add all your eggs to the pan. You may want to reduce the heat at this point, since the eggs will cook quickly. To save time you could crack the eggs ahead of time into a separate bowl– but I love the one dish aspect of this meal, so I usually just remove it from direct heat while cracking each egg into the skillet.
If you’ve decided to use bacon, now would be the time to crumble what you’ve set aside into the mix. From there just keep stirring enough to keep the eggs from overcooking. Soon you’ll have a beautiful breakfast “Slop” of your very own!