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Gluten Free Refried Beans and Chipolte Pulled Pork

by Karen on August 5th, 2010

Ahhh camp food, you probably have fond memories……

I thought it meant bacon sizzling in the pan, eggs, sandwiches, burgers and hotdogs followed by s’mores.  But that kind of camp food is not what this post is all about…..

Cooking Gluten Free When Camping

Our Campsite

I recently went camping with a huge group of women and kids–28 total.  We plan all the meals in advance so that you only have to cook once on the trip. It has taken me two years to realize that my volunteering to cook dinner was what everyone else deftly avoided.  The first night is generally handled by our fearless leaders who quickly volunteer to  provide us with hotdogs  and burgers on the grill–simple and painless.

(8-13-10 update:  I just learned last night when we got together for a post camp party that the first night food consisted of lovely salads and flank steak skewers, I missed the first night this year.  And breakfast is challenging too, you still have to feed 28 people and wake up early…)

Of course the next two nights are prepared by the two type A people in the group who like to cook.  This year my Japanese friend made fried rice and also pork gyoza (pot stickers) one night and I made refried beans with pulled pork chipolte wraps on another night. 

 I thought my meal selection was  “easy, no problem”.  But I forgot about the total production of cooking gluten free for close to 30 people.  I had to triple my normal recipes and do it in batches over two nights so that I could freeze it all and reheat it at camp.  Hours of prep work.

Getting Pinto Beans Ready for Camp

Many of our meals were the traditional ones most car campers prepare but in the next few posts I will cover our unique recipes (some that will not be worthy of camping–just too much work but they will be good at home) and a few ideas like Omelets in a Bag and a neat trick for bacon that makes life easy for camp.

Before I go on to the recipes, I must give you some background on this group of “campers”.  While I am a  newcomer (2 year veteran) many of the others have been at this for years.  In the past there have been microwave ovens and espresso machines in the campsite kitchen.  This year we had two crockpots on hand to keep things warm while the rest of the food was prepared. 

Activities always include swimming, sun, eating, and whatever the nearby town has to offer.  We always have foot baths, a hot wax paraffin dip, and other pedicure necessaties for the evening.  This year we included red wine and dark chocolate into the evening pedicure plan while the kids watched a movie screened on a huge white sheet hung over the clothes line.   Every year someone receives a special bikini made out of duct tape–a sight to behold for sure!  That photo though is not for public consumption. 

Our Japanese friend is a fabulous cook and her gyoza are well known and loved. Last year I helped make the gyoza in 100 degree + heat—I stood there filling, wrapping and crimping for hours on end while dripping sweat all while trying to keep the pork mixture cold enough to meet my “food worker permit standards” (remember type A). 

This brings back memories of our lovely campsite from last year –our amenities included a huge campsite consisting solely of dirt and rocks, though, we had running water and the all-important electrical outlet with power strips and 30 foot long cords, so who can complain?

It was beautiful

At one point the group nearby was in the midst of a huge boyfriend/girlfriend split, a very nasty split to be sure, the girl was foul mouthed and drunk, (can you blame her she was being dumped while on vacation with her friends?)  We then noticed (how could we not)  she was standing in the back of their pickup truck throwing out huge sheets of plywood at the boyfriend who was spurning her.   I can’t say I was disappointed when she decided to start walking home–we were truly in the middle of nowhere but somehow the friends managed to calm the situation, I think someone ultimately drove her home. 

Fortunately we moved up a notch this year to better digs–it always pays to spend a little more on your campsite…….


Chipolte Pulled Pork with Refried Beans

Refried beans are so easy to make and they taste a world apart from those in a can.  I have one of the new, safe  pressure cookers so beans don’t take much time to prepare.  For this recipe I use leaf lard from my butcher. Leaf lard is also used in my dairy-free, egg-free pie crust that I will post for Thanksgiving ( available now in the latest issue of Living Without magazine for my gluten free summer fruit pies).  Do a little research and you will find that lard got a bad rap over the last 20 years but is making a comeback as a healthier fat (when compared to Crisco).

Any Mexican restaurant worth its’ salt uses lard for the best flavor and authenticity.

Refried Beans

(serves 4 with leftovers)

2 cups dry pinto beans
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup or less of lard–you can also use canola oil if you like
Reserved cooking water from beans
2 teaspoons salt

Rinse and pick through dry beans to remove any stray objects (like small bits of rocks).Soak your beans overnight or follow your pressure cooker instructions for pre-soaking.

Cook the beans according to package or pressure cooker directions.  When beans are cooked, saute onion in fat over medium heat in a heavy skillet, cook until soft and somewhat carmelized.  With a slotted spoon, remove the beans from their cooking water.  Add cooked beans along with more of the lard and mash the beans while combining with the onions. Salt to taste.  If the refried beans need additional moisture add some of the bean cooking water.  If you plan to freeze the beans add some additional bean cooking water to them as well. 

Chipolte Pulled Pork

(serves 4 with leftovers)

3 pounds pork shoulder “butt” roast
4 ounce can chopped green chilies
12 ounce bottle green taco sauce
12 corn tortillas
canola oil for frying
8 ounces monterey jack cheese, grated
Chipolte sauce (we use one by Bufalo called Picante Chipolte Salsa)

Remove any string that might be holding pork together.  Cut the piece of pork in half horizontally so it is one even layer and place it into either a crock pot, Dutch oven or a flat roasting pan with at least 2-inch sides.  Place pork fat side up and sprinkle chopped green chilies and taco sauce all over the pork.  Fill taco sauce bottle halfway with water, shake it up and pour over pork.  Cover tightly with lid or foil and cook 4 hours at 250 degrees (crock pot cooking will take longer).  When meat is pull-apart tender with a fork it is done.

Remove big chunks of fat (don’t remove it all as you want some for flavor) and separate the meat with a fork, set aside)

Just before serving heat some oil in a heavy skillet.  Briefly cook corn tortillas until they soften, drain on paper toweling.  Remove all but a few tablespoons of oil from skillet. Add pulled pork in batches and cook in oil for a few minutes to add a bit of a crust to the meat. 

Serve tortillas with pulled pork, grated monterey jack cheese topped with chipolte sauce.


Authentic Refried Beans

Authentic Refried Beans

Here are a few camping photos –I would love to hear some of your camp food ideas too.

My excellent cookmates!

Lots of help with gyoza this year, me in the pink/orange tank. The chef overseeing things on the right.

A few hours out on the lake.

Find other great gluten free Mexican dishes in Cooking Gluten Free!

Sending your kids to camp

As a past board member for the Gluten Intolerance Group I have cooked at the GIG summer camp for kids. And as a parent of two gluten free kids, I have worked with the staff in many camp kitchens to be sure they were able to feed my children.  The food is always very basic–lots of pasta, sandwiches, foil dinners etc.  Generally, if you send along some pre-made frozen items, talk to the cook a week beforehand to learn what is on the menu, and meet the cook in person when you drop your child off you will rest assured that your child will be fed a gluten free diet.  I am always impressed by the pains these camp kitchens take to feed my children.  A personal connection with a positive attitude helps a great deal—meet the cook and BE NICE so they want to help you and your child.

  1. Thanks for the recipes… I’m definitely going to try refried beans – I miss them from America. I think Lardo must be lard… or I will use the cooking oil substitution.


  2. Karen permalink

    I am not sure what Lardo is, sometimes you will see lard called manteca (spanish) in the grocery store.

  3. Hey Kare,
    Thank you so much for your kind words over at my space!
    Until last summer I had no idea what gluten free food is and got to know only when I met a friend who was intolerant and was amazed to know all about it. You’re doing a great job around here. I’m so looking forward to learning something new from you.
    Keep up the good work and stay in touch!

  4. Please note many plain dark chocolate bars will be wheat and gluten free by their very nature. Camping Cooking Supplies Wholesale

  5. Karen permalink

    Thank you Prerna, I hope some of my readers check out your beautiful blog, Indian food is always a favorite. We should be able to make some easy substitutions to make it gluten free.

  6. Oh, that’s so sweet of you and I too hope so :-)
    I would for you to try some of my Indian recipes and would also love to know a bit more about gluten free cooking so that I can incorporate more of that in my cooking as well and be of some help if I can. Would love to get in touch with you can ask few questions because you are the best person I know who can help me learn what is what is not gluten free.

  7. Hope you had a bash and all the gluten free recipes sounds yumm especially the chipotle pulled pork. This is my first visit to your blog and I am so loving it.

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