Post script on my Sun Oven solar cooking experiment. It worked perfectly! The Greek beef stew was tender and delicious, and the rice in the pot below the stew was perfectly done. I think if I make that recipe again, I’ll use ketchup instead of tomato paste, and maybe increase the wine to half a cup.
I learned a bit about solar cooking too. If it isn’t done by 4 pm, you might as well give up, because the temp really starts to drop when the sun isn’t directly overhead. Best times to cook are probably 10 am to 2 pm. Also, when the solar oven is good and hot (350), the lid steams up a lot, which drops the temperature. I had to keep opening the oven to wipe off the condensation from the lid. Hard to say which dropped the temp more, the condensation, or opening the lid. Anyway, it worked.
Yesterday I cooked a pot roast in the solar oven, but conditions were partly cloudy due to a marine layer (one of the benefits of living near the Pacific Ocean–natural air conditioning). Unfortunately, I didn’t get started until 12:30, and thus missed most of the time that the sun is directly overhead. The temp in the oven peaked at 270, but went down to only 150 by 3 pm. That won’t even boil water. I had to finish up the pot roast in the regular oven for the final hour of cooking. It came out fabulous! That may have been the best pot roast I’ve ever cooked. I used up the last of my Kyoto red carrots for this dish. Wish I had had some potatoes to put into the pot.
If you want to see what others are using from their garden or preserved foods from their garden, visit Robin at “The Gardener of Eden” on Kitchen Cupboard Thursdays.
Solar Oven Pot Roast
2 lb chuck roast
1 onion, sliced lengthwise into strips
6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 pkg dehydrated onion soup mix
1/2 C red wine
Put ingredients into a covered pot in order given. Cook in a solar oven for three hours at 300-350.