Camp Polenta Fries + Chipotle Mayo


Emily Hlaváč Green

​Summer and Mexican food go hand in hand so it just makes sense to get a ​little campfire fiesta on the go.

Having never made these over a campfire, a hike-in camp spot in upstate New York over the weekend provided the ideal challenge to cook one of my favourite snacks in a new context. Heading off the train in Beacon, we hiked up the old incline trail, along Fishkill ridge, over rocky plateaus and down through the trees to an oasis in the trees that goes by the name of Malouf's Mountain. This place is magic, you can read more about that over on Ports of Gold.

The cheese makes these fries crunchy yet soft on the inside, while the chipotle mayo has a good bit of heat to it. And because you've saved all that room by carrying only the bare essential food items you've probably even got room for a couple of beers to enjoy with your fireside feast! 

Ingredients (makes enough for 2-3 hungry hikers)

  • 1 1/2 cup polenta
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup chopped Rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil (in a spray bottle if you like to save space)
  • Coriander (optional) - if hiking wrap the ends in wet paper towels and pop in a plastic bag
  • Extra parmesan, shaved
  • 3/4 cup mayo (in a container enough to mix into)
  • 1 small tin Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce (we used La Morena)


  • Small fry pan
  • Plastic container
  • Small sharp knife
  • Tongs
  • Spoon
  • Newspaper


Day before the campout: 

  1. In a pot, bring chicken stock and milk to a boil and whisk in polenta until smooth. Turn heat down and simmer for another 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice, parmesan, garlic, rosemary, and salt.
  3. Immediately transfer to a lightweight plastic container, pack this in tightly, something that will hold it's shape and allow the polenta to set.

At the camp:

  1. Turn the polenta out and cut into fries. We cut ours into about 1x1" size and length of the container, but later cut them in half to turn easier in the pan. 
  2. Generously spray the fry pan with olive oil, when hot pop in some pieces of polenta. Fry on each size until nice and crispy and golden. 
  3. Sprinkle with shavings of parmesan, salt and pepper while still hot and turn out onto the newspaper to serve.
  4. To make the Chipotle Mayo: Stir about 5 level dessert spoons of Chipotle pepper sauce, leaving the chillis, through the mayo to mix, tasting as you go for desired spiciness. Garnish with fresh coriander and pepper.


Still hungry?

 If you want to turn this Mexi-snack into a whole camp feast check out my recipe for Smokey Mexican Beef Tacos and Chili Corn - you can use up those Chipotle peppers and coriander!

See more from Emily: Instagram | Website | Pinterest | Blog

Published: August 10, 2016

Emily Hlaváč GreenStoryteller

A kiwi photographer building stories around food, lifestyle and travel, currently living in New York City. Always dreaming of the next mountain to climb, making a campfire a kitchen or adventure into the unknown. Adve...

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