Nettle soup and fish soup – made in a campfire kotlich

Just imagine you’re on the banks of the Danube when you make Trish Maccurrach’s fish soup. And make the most of British wild food with an easy nettle soup.

You can make your soups in a big kotlich pot or Dutch oven using a tripod over a campfire, but you can always adapt to whatever cooking method you prefer. 

kotlich cooking on the river sidenettle soup(Latest update: October 2020)

Riblja cobra (fish soup)

kotlich stew

Our recipes are usually written for two (so that you can multiply as needed). Kotlich cooking, though, is really best for a crowd of friends or a family meal, so the recipes below serve up to six.

 
  • Special seasoning – powdered sweet paprika, mild curry powder, chilli powder, chopped celeriac leaves and root (you could use lovage or celery salt too), mixed herbs and dill. If you want to cheat, Trish says you can find a ready-mixed seasoning in central European shops.
  • First light your fire and set up the tripod.  Put some oil in the Kotlich and place over the fire
  • Fry onion in oil – 1 large onion per kilo of fish
  • Add plenty of green peppers chopped
  • Add a small amount of water to cover peppers and simmer for 5-10 minutes
  • Add fish, around 250g per person,  cut into joints and cover with water. Any fish is good, but traditionally it would be riverfish.
  • Add 1-2 green peppers whole.
  • Add plenty of tomatoes
  • Cook slowly for 30-40 mins
  • Half way through this process add your spice mix and, at the end, a good amount of sweet crushed pepper.
  • If it’s not thick enough, thicken with cornflour.

Which campfire tripod?

There are so many very similar tripod legs and chains to choose from. These are our three top picks for campfire tripods.

The simple Taotao tripod set costs around £60.

 

A lovely hand-forged, British-made iron campfire tripod from Arrowsmith Forge.  Under £30.

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Third option is a great value one from BBQ-Toro, with all the accessories you need, including a big pot. Around £100. Delivery is expensive, but still a good price overall.

Kotlich or goulash pots

Hanging pots with enamelled interiors. lovely to look at and fantastic for traditional stews and paprikash. From around £25.

Dutch ovens

These substantial pots are usually made of cast iron and have a handle to suspend them from the tripod.

The lid can often be used as a frying pan or pot too.

Lots of sizes to choose from. Around £50 for a family-sized pot that’ll last you a lifetime.

Nettle soup

nettle soup cooking

Nettle soup has a very subtle flavour. To keep the deep green colour, it’s important not to overcook it.

If you’re kotlich cooking at home, it’s nice to blend this soup till smooth. If you’re out in the wilds, then just chop up your ingredients very finely or use the hand-powered Zyliss processor.

  • Gather your nettles with scissors and rubber gloves. Choose only the tops of young nettles.  Pack them down until they fill a big mixing bowl.
  • Put the Kotlich over the fire with some oil and gently fry 4 cloves of garlic, 2 medium onions and two chopped medium potatoes.
  • When the onions are soft, cover with stock and simmer till the potatoes are tender.  Stir regularly.
  • Add the rinsed nettles, a couple of bay leaves and more liquid to cover.  Simmer for about 10 minutes
  • Remove from the heat, take out the bay leaves. Whizz till smooth (if you’re using a  hand-blender)
  • Decorate the bowls with a swirl of sour cream and flowers.

See our other articles too. Lots to read and ideas to inspire you!

Campfire tripod cooking

Foraging for delicious wild food

Recipes for wild garlic

 
 


Recommended reading for foragers and lovers of wild food

Don’t forget your camping spice tin

Make yourself a neat camping box of herbs and spices and you’ll never have to rummage in your kitchen bag again.

 

We all have our own essentials and favourites, so pick and mix to suit, but here’s what we always have:



      • Curry powder
      • Mixed herbs
      • Chilli powder
      • Cumin
      • Coriander
      • Chinese five spice
      • Garam masala
      • Whole spices – cardamom, star anise, cloves
      • Smoked paprika
      • Dried lime leaves
      • Sesame seeds

A masala dhaba is a great idea, providing it has airtight lids or a double outer lid.

 

 

 


Go for a neat set of magnetic tins.
 

Or simple stackable boxes with transparent lids so you don;’t have to open every box to check what’s inside.

This lovely German set of spice and herb tins has good lids and all the labels you need to keep things organised.

If you’ve got a weigh-and-save or zero-waste shop near you, you can refill containers like these more cheaply and with less wasted packaging too.

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