While the words “winter” and “picnic” seem as incompatible as “rain” and “golf”, these winter picnic recipes will have you packing your picnic basket for a tasty winter outing.  Luckily for you, Yogi and Boo-Boo should be hibernating right about now, so there won’t be any need to keep a close eye on your belongings while you’re enjoying the flank steak, goat cheese marinara spread, and black bean chili featured below.   

Goat Cheese Marinara

This involves making a marinara sauce at home and then reducing it down to a spread-like consistency to use as a dip for bread.

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
(San Marzano)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 4-oz log of chèvre (goat cheese)
  • Herbes de Provence
  • Boule of quality bread

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme and cook on low for 3 hours to reduce and concentrate flavors. Place tomato mixture in small baking dish and set chèvre on top; sprinkle with a dash of herbes de Provence and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until it becomes the consistency of a spread. (Gourmet shortcut: Start with a good store-bought marinara, like Food for Thought’s Leek Marinara or Mario Batali’s line of sauces and cook it down for 35 to 45 minutes.)

Cut top off the boule and carefully carve out the bread inside the rounded crust. Do not puncture the crust because it serves as the bowl for the marinara spread. Cube the bread into bite-size pieces and put in a Ziploc.

Heat on a portable grill, camp stove or fire or bring in a pre-warmed Thermos. Before serving, scoop the marinara into the carved-out boule scoop. Wait to stir in the goat cheese till you pour the marinara into the boule. In meantime, carry the cheese in a breast pocket to keep it warm and soft.

Glazed Flank Steak

  • 1 cup Teriyaki marinade
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2-pound flank steak
  • 1 baguette

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup for basting. With a sharp knife, score both sides of steak in a crisscross pattern. Place steak in marinade and refrigerate for an hour. Grill (either at home or trailside) 15 to 20 minutes for medium rare, baste occasionally with marinade, turning once. Carve diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Cut baguette on diagonal into 1/2-inch slices. Assemble mini-sandwiches with steak slices and bread.

If you can’t bring a grill to the picnic, grill the steaks at home and warm in a pan over the fire—or eat cold.

Black Bean Chili

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, venison
or buffalo
  • 1 tablespoon mild chili peppers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons jalapeños chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon bay powder
  • 3 28-ounce cans of tomatoes (process 1 can in food processor)
  • 2 28-ounce cans black beans (rinsed and drained)

Sauté onion, garlic and chilies in olive oil for 5 minutes. Crumble beef over vegetables and season with salt & pepper. Stir in all spices and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in black beans and simmer covered for 15 minutes.

Bring in a pre-warmed Thermos or heat over a camp stove or portable grill. Bonus points: grill fresh bratwurst, serve in a bun and top with the chili for super chili dogs.

 Find More Recipes at MyNorth Recipes