This easy campfire fish lentil stew is made with white fish (such as cod) and poached in red lentils, spinach and spices. Cook it in a Dutch oven over a fire!
This week the sun came out.
And we were oh so happy to see it!
It's been a particularly snowy and icy winter (by Kentucky standards anyway) and the warm, spring-like weather this week feels amazing.
The weather was so incredibly gorgeous that it just seemed wrong to stay inside. I didn't even want to go inside for dinner.
So we didn't.
Instead, we made a campfire and cooked outside.
This campfire fish lentil stew is a variation of one of my other favorite meals, this (meatless) campfire red lentil stew. It's made with white fish cooked in spiced tomatoes, red lentils and spinach.
Do I Need Special Campfire Cooking Gear?
You'll need a cooking pot that can be placed directly into a campfire.
You'll also want a lid lifter to help remove the hot Dutch oven lid. I use this Lodge lid lifter.
It's also helpful to have long-handled cooking utensils (like a metal spatula and serving spoon) to help keep your hands farther from the fire.
We also like to keep a set of camping dishes and titanium sporks on hand to avoid carrying breakable dishes (or pricey silverware) outside.
Check out our camping kitchen gear recommendations for more tips!
What Kind of Fish Should I Use?
This recipe works best with relatively thick fillets of white fish, such as cod or halibut.
It's also delicious with (sometimes) harder-to-source white fish, such as grouper, lingcod and sablefish.
You could also use thinner fillets of white fish, such as flounder or tilapia, but be aware that the fish may fall completely apart in the stew. It will still taste delicious!
If you want to use thinner fillets and don't want the fish flake apart completely, try adding the fish about seven minutes before the lentils are done cooking (halfway through the final cook time).
A meat variation of this stew is tasty too! If you have access to venison, try this venison lentil stew.
The Best Campfire for Cooking
As lovely as a roaring campfire is, when you're cooking, it's best to use hot coals.
We usually make a campfire and then scrape hot coals to one side of our double campfire ring, but you could also let your main campfire burn down to hot coals.
How to Make Campfire Fish Lentil Stew
Start by placing your Dutch oven on an level place over hot coals.
Add oil, onions and spices to the pot.
Cook the onions until they begin to soften. The spices become fragrant as they begin cooking.
Add the tomatoes to the pot and bring them to a simmer.
Next, add the lentils, spinach and water.
Bring the water to a boil.
Set the fish in the pot.
If your fillets are overlapping a little it's totally fine.
Cover the pot and cook for about 15 minutes.
That should be long enough for the lentils to cook through and absorb most of the liquid.
Next, use a lid lifter to remove the lid.
Check the fish to see if it's opaque and flaky. Test the fish with the spatula if you're not sure-- you should be able to flake the fish easily.
If your fish isn't quite done, cover the pot and cook for another five to ten minutes until the fish is ready.
Serve this campfire fish lentil stew right away and enjoy your meal in the great outdoors!
Campfire Fish Lentil Stew
- campfire ring
- metal spatula
- cutting board
- can opener (if cans aren't pop-top)
- serving spoon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup red lentils (rinsed and sorted)
- 1 15 oz can spinach, drained Or use ~2 ounces fresh or ~10 ounces frozen spinach.
- 12 ounces white fish (~2 large or 3-4 small fillets) Cod, halibut, sablefish, grouper or lingcod will work well
- 3 ½ cups water
- Prepare campfire: Heat coals until they are very hot, or let a campfire burn down until the wood is smoldering but without active flames.
- Add olive oil, onions, salt, garlic, and spices to the Dutch oven. Set uncovered on coals. Let onions cook for 1-2 minutes until softened.
- Add tomatoes to the pot and cook 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes begin to simmer.
- Add spinach, lentils, and water. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Set the fish in the pot.
- Cover Dutch oven and cook about 15 minutes until the lentils are tender and the fish is opaque and flaky. Depending on the thickness of the fish, you may need to cook an additional 5-10 minutes.Allow lentils to cool slightly before serving.