Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Solar Cooking Favorite

This lamb cassoulet was the first dish to appear on my blog. It's still one of my favorites. I adapted the recipe from Pressure Perfect by Lorna Sass.

Sun Oven Lamb Shanks with White Beans

1/2 lb. white beans (cannellini, great northern or mayocoba)
1 tbs. olive oil
2 leeks, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 bay leaves
3 1/2 cups water
2 lamb shanks
1 tbs fresh chopped rosemary
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Soak beans overnight. Heat oil in a large dutch oven, add leeks and carrots, saute for about five minutes. Add beans, water, bay leaves and lamb shanks. Cover and place in Sun Oven and cook for at least four hours. To serve remove meat from bones. Drain beans reserving broth for future use. Return beans to pot and season with rosemary, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

Be sure to save the broth. It's the best part of the recipe and can be used to make outstanding soups.


  1. My husband does most of our cooking, yet a recent tweet directed me to your solar cooking blog and for some reason I'm fascinated with the recipes. In an age when we all need to consider new ways to shrink our carbon footprints, your blog project is a noble quest. It boggles my mind that it's possible to use simple sunshine to cook complete meals. Lamb?! Mmmm.

  2. I am always curious as to your choice in pots and pans. You've mentioned (white?) ceramic crock pots and dutch ovens. What works better, thin walled vessels or thick, Dark or shiny, metal or ceramic? Did you use a pizza stone on your pizza? I saw a black enameled camping set on sale the other day,and thought about it for the Solar oven.Have you tried enamel ware?

  3. Black enameled pot are the best for solar cooking. Food will cook faster and they work with all types of solar cookers. With a Sun Oven you can also use heavier pots like cast iron or ceramic. I like to use my dutch oven for slow cooking in the Sun Oven because it retains the heat better. If I want to have dinner after sundown I just leave it in the Sun Oven and it stays hot. The only time I use the ceramic insert of my crock pot is if I plan on transferring everything inside to the crock pot base. The only pots you wouldn't want to use in a Sun Oven are shiny ones, the will deflect the heat. Hope that helps. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.

  4. Glad I found your blog. I also cook with the sun here in Vegas, and blog about it occasionally.

    Maybe I have a recipe you'd like to try (like Biscotti, fantastic).

  5. Your biscotti recipe looks great. I'll definitely try it. Too bad I don't have the ingredients on hand or I'd bake some today. But you have put me in the baking mood. Off to the pantry to see what I can whip up. Thanks!

  6. Hi, Gabrielle
    I just received the email from Sun Ovens International about checking out your blog. THIS IS GREAT!!!
    I am in south central New Mexico and have had a Sun Oven for a couple months. Looking through your recipes so far, this is just the encouragement I needed.
    Thanks and will have questions soon,
    New Mexico

  7. Elle, I just wanted to add that I did not use a pizza stone because mine was too big. The other day I found a smaller one in a thrift store. Next time I will use it. I'm still not 100% satisfied with Sun Oven pizza. Hopefully the stone will do the trick.

  8. Love your blog and objective. Made a cassoulet in our new solar oven tonight, first dish tried (other than rice, which did not turn out because I put it in too late) adapted out of a magazine, 3 cups or so white beans (used northern) 3 cups canned tomatoes (used fire roasted) 1 cup chopped celery, 1 cup chopped carrot, chopped onion and garlic to taste, 1 lb sausage (used publix chicken garlic and herb), salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, thyme, liquids from canned beans and tomatoes with water to make 2 cups. Finished product topped with toasted panko crumbs. Sauteed vegs and sausage a little to start, added everything else then set it up at 11:30 am in the sun of a cloudless sky in NW Florida. Seemed done by about 3:30, let it sit another hour, it was awesome. Thanks for the inspiration.