Monday, August 17, 2009

Solar Braised Lamb Shanks with Root Vegetables

Braising has to be the easiest way to cook meat and braising in a solar oven is even easier. I didn't follow a recipe, I simply took two lamb shanks, trimmed the excess fat, washed and patted them dry and browned them in olive oil in a cast iron dutch oven. I took them out of the dutch oven and sauteed some chopped onion, leek and garlic in it. When the onions were soft I put the lamb shanks back in the dutch oven with some salt and pepper and about 1/2 cup of red wine. I let the wine reduce a little, added about 1/2 cup of chicken broth, placed the lid on it and transfered it to the solar oven. After it had been cooking for about an hour I added the root vegetables, a rutabaga, a turnip and a carrot, peeled and cut into one inch pieces. I wanted them to retain their colors so I made a sort of pocket with tin foil and put it in the dutch oven on top of the lamb shanks. The total cooking time was approximately two hours, no longer than in a conventional oven and all without using a single watt of electricity.
Most lamb shank recipes allot one shank per person. I usually take the meat off the bones and get up to two servings per shank. I use the left over meat to make a shepherd's pie later in the week. I also usually serve this dish with mashed potatoes instead of the root vegetables but I wanted to cut back on the calories. I mashed the vegetables with some olive oil and of course I spooned the cooking liquid over everything before serving.
If you happen to be in Arizona be sure to tune into Good Morning Arizona on channel 3 Tuesday morning. They are doing a segment on solar cooking with me and the president of Global Sun Ovens International. It should air at 8:45 a.m. I've never been on T.V. before and I'm a little nervous.

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