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From the Camp Gourmet: A High-Carb Recipe to Fuel Your Ski and Snowboard Adventures

When you’re enjoying winter fun outdoors, you need the right fuel to keep warm and moving. That’s where a snowboarder/foodie like me can help.

Hi, I’m Dane Tullock, the REI Boston-area outreach specialist and chef for my own Cooking in the Great Outdoors website. For today’s guest blog on, I’m sharing how to prepare a recipe for fireside risotto. This dish will stick to your ribs and fuel your next cold-weather adventure.

Dane Tullock

After a recent blizzard, I had an opportunity to rediscover the trails that run through the woods near my home in Woburn, Massachusetts (just north of Boston). I love this bit of “backcountry” in my own backyard.

Putting the crest of Horn Pond Hill in my sights, I set off on a 5-mile trek through knee-deep snow. The goal: Get to the top and snowboard down a service road that wraps around the hill, all while remaining right here in my Woburn neighborhood.

Estimates vary, but a typical snowboarder who weighs between 150 and 200 pounds can burn as much as 500 to 700 calories per hour. Add trekking or snowshoeing in deep snow to and from the slopes and it is clear that keeping active in the winter requires a large amount of fuel to provide the energy you need.


So here is one of my favorite wintertime recipes: Fireside Risotto with Wood Ear Mushrooms.

This dish can be prepared in your kitchen, on a camp stove or in a Dutch oven over an open fire.

Risotto is typically prepared using Arborio rice, which has a high starch content that can be coaxed out of the grain by slowly adding hot liquid; in this case, chicken and vegetable stock.

The resulting dish is rich in carbohydrates that will provide a readily available fuel source for your toughest cold-weather outdoor activities.

Ingredients (for 4 – 6 servings)

  • 2 cups risotto rice
  • 1/4 lb. bacon (chopped into ½” pieces)
  • 1 head freshly chopped garlic
  • 2 small onions (chopped)
  • ½ stick butter (or ½ cup olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup dried & finely chopped oregano (or sage) 
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 – 4 teaspoons course sea salt
  • 12 oz. fresh vegetable stock
  • 12 oz. fresh chicken stock
  • 2 cups rehydrated wood ear mushrooms (chopped)
  • ½ cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
  • ½ cup buttermilk


Place the stock into a deep pot and bring the liquid up to a simmer over medium heat. Be sure that the stock does not come to a boil. While the stock is warming, add the bacon, onion, garlic and butter in another deep pot and warm over medium to high heat, consistently mixing the ingredients until the fat from the bacon has been rendered and the onions and garlic have begun to brown.


While the stock is warming (left), mix and cook the bacon, onion, garlic and butter (right).

Stir in the rice, making sure that each piece is fully coated with the butter and grease from the rendered bacon. Continue to stir the mixture until the rice becomes golden brown in color. Next add about 1-3 ladles of warm stock to the mixture and bring the heat back down to simmer (low). Stir regularly, keeping an eye on the volume of liquid in the pan. As the liquid is absorbed, add another 1-3 ladles of stock to the mixture.

Stir in the rice

Continue this process, making sure all of the liquid from the stock has been absorbed by the rice before adding the next couple of ladles. You will know that the rice is ready for the next step when the kernels are al dente (firm, yet not crunchy). The rice should have a creamy texture, much like a thick stew.

When the rice has the proper texture, add the mushrooms and a few more ladles of stock and continue to stir. The mushrooms will absorb some of the additional liquid and what is left will help to finish the rice. Continue stirring for 5 – 10 minutes, giving the mushrooms time to cook and soften up.

Campfire risotto

Once the mushrooms have absorbed enough liquid to soften up (but still retain a little crispness when bitten), stir in the buttermilk and allow the mixture simmer until the consistency is uniform throughout (about 5 minutes). Mix in the pecorino romano cheese and additional spices to taste and your risotto is ready to eat and serve to your friends.

Yes, risotto takes time (typically about 25 – 30 minutes) and patience to make properly, but the final product is well worth the effort.

You can also watch my step-by-step video instruction for this recipe.

Posted on at 3:15 PM

Tagged: Snowboarding, cooking and food

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Dominique Staff Member

Sounds absolutely delicious! Can't wait to try it!! I heard we have another spring snow storm heading our way! Thanks.

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Get Fit. Great. Except REI is putting the CEO of the Vitamin Shoppe, Anthony Truesdale on our Board. The Vitamin Shoppe, which sells nutritional supplements, sells Jack3d containing DMAA. Developed by Eli Lilly as a decongestant, DMAA was banned by the World Anti Doping Agency in 2010. Britan, Swede, Denmark, Finaland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia have effectively banned supplments containing DMAA. Jack3d has been banned by the US military after the death of a recruit during training. A British coroner sited Jack3d in the death of Calir Squires who collapsed and died during the London Marathon. So what is this merchant of dangerous supplements doing on the REI board. Get Fit. Get Dead. Its all good.


Looks delicious. Have you other recipes usign dehydrated or freeze-dried foods? I would like to get information on your ideas about them and their use.


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