Adventures in Solar Cooking Part 4
October 24, 2011 | 6 comment(s)
Having successfully made a number of great bread-related dishes with the SOS Sport Solar Oven, we decided to try something a little more difficult: A full pot roast, with potatoes and carrots.
For this one, we really didn't have a recipe. But it went something like this:
One 3lb roast, un-browned (although you really could brown it on the stove before putting it in the oven if you wanted).
10 small red potatoes
3 cups baby carrots
1 heaping tablespoon Clarified Butter, melted, to grease pans
1 heaping teaspoon Clarified Butter, melted, drizzled over vegetables
Garlic Salt, to taste
Generous dash, Provident Pantry Italian Seasoning
We used to Clarified Butter to coat the pans so our food wouldn't stick. We decided to cook the vegetables and the roast in separate pots. The roast got a gentle dusting of garlic salt and herbs, and then went into the pot. The vegetables received the same, but we also decided to drizzle them with a little more butter, because butter is delicious.
Much like a crock pot, the idea with cooking in a solar oven is to get the food out in the sun and then leave it be. We preheated the oven to about 350 degrees, then threw the roast and vegetables in at about 10:30 AM. And then we went back inside and tried to wait patiently...
we're not very good at waiting...
When we put the roast in, without browning it, we caused the temperature to drop by almost 200 degrees. It took a solid hour for it to climb back up to just 250 degrees, where it stayed for the rest of the day.
We let it all cook for about 6 hours. We did this in part because we wanted to make sure that the roast was completely done. But we also wanted to push the whole "you can't burn things in the solar oven" to its limit. Vegetables don't take nearly as much time to cook as the roast does, and we wanted to see what would happen to them if left in "too long". So around 5:00pm, we went outside to see what happened.
We noticed a buildup of moisture on the inside of the lid. This isn't a huge problem, but it can block sunlight, making it more difficult for the oven to heat up. Luckily we were finished cooking. It is recommended that you simply let the moisture dry on its own, either by putting the lid back on the oven without any food in it, or leaning the lid against the wall to drip dry. Anyways, back to the food.
The smell was incredible. The roast was fork tender and delicious. The vegetables were very soft, buttery and delicious. Perhaps they cooked a hair too long (I do prefer them to be a little firmer, personally) but they were not overcooked or burned.
What we learned today:
-While not impossible, it certainly is very difficult to burn things in the SOS Sport Solar Oven.
-Moisture can collect on the lid on cooler days, and needs to be watched for as it can affect cooking.
-In general, butter really can only make things better.
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