Earlier this month, we had a “FIREPOT” night and our Social Media Manager, Rob, joined me for a tasting two of Outdoorfood‘s dehydrated meals, their award-winning Porcini Mushroom Risotto and their highest calorie meal, Orzo Pasta Bolognese. We detailed our upcoming review lineup for all of the FIREPOT meals earlier in the month.
We started with Porcini Mushroom and Risotto.
About Porcini Mushroom and Risotto
The Porcini Mushroom and Risotto meal contains 560 kcals per pack and it is ready in 15 minutes, like the chili con carne meal. This meal is a classic Italian risotto cooked with flavorsome porcini and chestnut mushrooms. Keeping with the tradition of using natural ingredients, this meal contains 38% risotto rice and 20% chestnut mushrooms. This meal is also a FIREPOT award winner, taking home the silver medal in 2017 from the Taste of the West competition. This meal is vegan and gluten-free.
BCM Review of FIREPOT Porcini Mushroom Risotto
As the award winner of Taste of the West, we started with this meal and were surprised. The initial look of the contents of the bag looked rather slim, but after steeping in boiling water for the recommended 15 minutes, the contents really plumped up and became a hefty portion size, which Rob and I shared on our usual camping plates.
We cooked the meal in its own pouch.
On plates, the standard size meal, which we had, makes two moderate-sized portions for two people who aren’t extremely hungry, so for one person, which is what this size is meant for, this is a hefty serving.
The porcini mushrooms hydrated very well, had great composition and did not fall apart after cooking. The mushrooms released a very savory broth that gave the meal a level up, it was definitely a higher-end product. The risotto also cooked fully after the recommended cook time and had a full-bodied mouthfeel. The color of the meal was also appetizing.
We did find a fault, which is easily fixable. Both Rob and I felt that the meal did not contain enough salt. The nutritional panel states it has 1.5 g. of salt per pouch (1.9g. per 100 grams). However, we did have to sprinkle some of our kosher salt on the meal to bring the flavors to full bloom. So, if you’re like us, you may carry some salt with you on your expeditions and you’ll be fine. We do understand that not many people enjoy too much salt on their food, so, having less salt is always better than having too much because you can’t fix the latter.
Between the first two we tried, the Porcini Mushroom Risotto was Rob’s favorite.
About Orzo Pasta Bolognese
The Orzo Pasta Bolognese meal will be one that is a medium ground for anyone who may be on the fence with trying FIREPOT by Outdoorfood. It is a traditional tomato-based sauce meal, consisting of slow-cook British beef and a rich tomato and oregano sauce. It is served with rice-shaped pasta or “orzo” made with durum wheat semolina.
This meal is FIREPOT by Outdoorfood’s highest kcal pack, with 635 kcals per serving. It’s ready in 15 minutes and contains 30% beef, 30% orzo pasta and 24% tomatoes.
BCM Review of FIREPOT Orzo Pasta Bolognese
The contents of the Orzo Pasta Bolognese was the same as the Porcini Mushroom Risotto, it appeared like a small amount prior to cooking and then blossomed into a really good-sized meal, which is different from other dried foods, as when they look like a small amount, they tend to yield smaller portions. So, this is something I like about FIREPOT, you get a filling meal in each pouch.
This meal had many pros. The method Outdoorfood is using cook their British beef is the way everyone should cook beef. The beef had an abundance of flavor, each bite of it was rewarding. The meal had real bits of tomato in it that also provided real flavor.
The appearance of the meal itself looks like a plate of food you’d find at someone’s house, it does not look artificial at all. It’s appetizing.
It does not have a lot of sauce after cooking per se, but it really does not need it. The sauce it was cooked with initially, seems to have been absorbed by the orzo, which ended up giving the pasta a great flavor.
We did notice that this meal had the same issue as the last. It did not have enough salt, so we added some. It also did not cook in the listed 15-minute timeframe, we let it cook for about 20 minutes and some of the orzo was still stiff, but not enough that it could not be eaten. It was just a few bits here and there, and it really did not change my opinion on this one; when I buy it in the future, which I will, I’ll just cook it for a bit longer or make sure the water boils for a bit longer before adding it to the pouch.
Of the two, this was my favorite. Rob, liked this one as well but was more partial to the Porcini Mushroom Risotto meal.
Aesthetics of Packaging
A lot of people don’t think that packaging matters when it comes to outdoor gear/food, but it does, it really does. Humans are visual creatures and we are more inclined to want to try something that looks good or cool before trying a “basic” product. I don’t have to say that the packaging of FIREPOT meals are gorgeous because they just are. You’re immediately struck by the deep orange at the top of the pouch and the map design below it that pinpoints Dorset, where this food is handmade; in person, the pouch is even more striking. It is also FUNCTIONAL!
Outdoorfood makes it easy for us by placing numbers on the left side of the back of the pouch, these are the “fill line” marks you must adhere to when adding water, and each pouch/cooking method has its own assigned level. The directions conveniently tell you which number to fold the pouch at and use the crease as a fill line. It’s easy as cake. It also tells you how much water each pouch requires in case you don’t feel like folding.
The packaging is not flimsy, which is my number one concern with expedition food. A flimsy, thin casing is easily punctured by hard contents inside the pouch or by anything it may be carried next to inside a day pack or mountain pack. Once it suffers a hole, the quality of the meal is compromised and so is the convenience in cooking it. However, FIREPOT meals have a thick, healthy pouch that is leak-free and hard to puncture. It stands the test of the elements and won’t buckle.
However, this does have a downside, which could be fixed by making the notches on each side, that act as opening facilitators, narrower. It was very difficult to open the pouches, both Rob and I had a bit of trouble, but eventually we got one pack open, but we ended up using scissors for the other.
So far, we have tried 4 of the 5 flavors we received from FIREPOT by Outdoorfood (we will be writing reviews for each one a bit later). This review focused on the first two flavors we tried, which we would highly recommend to our readers and anyone that we know is looking for a meal plan while on an expedition or a day hike. It is easy, delicious food.
When we first came across FIREPOT, it was on social media and it was through rave reviews we saw our followers making of this food. After a huge pool of top 5-star reviews, we felt that there had to be some truth to this. And when we received our package, we could not wait to try it. It has taken a while, and most of you have been waiting to hear about what we think about this food, and this is because we wanted to do it right and I wanted to try the food with a differing palate from mine, to give a genuine review from two aspects. Overall, both Rob and I agreed on almost all of the tasting points. The only place we differed was in which one we liked best, which was split down the middle.
Of all the outdoor food I have tried, which have been many (I happen to be a very picky and particular person, everything I use has to be something I use often and is my go-to item, so I have to test everything until I find the right items) so far, FIREPOT by Outdoorfood is my favorite. It is real food, handmade and the company is very responsive.
We have to disclose that we do not have a sponsorship from FIREPOT or a partnership, but we would not be opposed to it. We would be proud to exclusively feature this food as our recommended brand, just like we openly now recommend it to you to try.
Stay tuned for reviews 3, 4 and 5.