We recently returned from a camping trip in the redwoods, where this dip was a welcome snack the first evening after working hard to set up all our gear. I’ve made it both over the campfire and in the oven at home, and I have to say it tastes better while camping! You can make it in a disposable pie tin or in a cast-iron skillet, but I decided to try it in Corning Ware — more details on that below.
The recipe is not my invention, but I’ve seen it all over the internet so I don’t feel bad duplicating it here.
cream cheese (up to one 8-oz block; amount depends on the size of your pan)
1 can chili (any kind)
shredded cheese (any kind; I used Monterey Jack this time)
Spread an even layer of cream cheese on the bottom of the pan. Add the chili, then top with a layer of shredded cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and heat over the fire until the chili is bubbling and cheese is melted. Serve with tortilla chips.
Pictured: Corning Ware Spice O’ Life A-1-B Casserole
So, can this be cooked over the fire in Corning Ware? Well, I don’t recommend it. First off, the Corning Ware website explicitly says the stovetop product is “not intended for camping, industrial or commercial use.” That refers to modern pyroceram products, not vintage, but still.
On the other hand, if Corning Ware can withstand the stovetop and broiler, and can even go directly from freezer to the flame, why not the campfire? In particular, Corning Ware’s stovetop percolators seem ideal for camp coffee. I don’t see why a casserole dish would have any problem. So, I decided to go for it:
I was expecting the dish to get pretty dirty, and it did. After cooking there was a heavy coating of soot all over the bottom and sides. Thankfully, that cleaned up fairly easily with some soap and a scrubby sponge. The before (well, more like mid-cleaning) and after:
Unfortunately, while cleaning the bottom I noticed a long scratch that looks like it could be a crack (in the center of the photo):
After pondering it for a while, I think the soot may have simply made an existing scratch/crack more visible — so most likely the damage is not from the campfire. Still, I probably would not try this experiment again.
It sure was fun, though!