Friday, September 25, 2009

Solar Sicilian Style Potato Gratin and question about cookware

I got a tri-tip roast on sale the other day and since then had been scouring the internet for a recipe that would work in the Sun Oven. As the expiration date grew closer I abandoned the search and fired up the grill. After all, even Paul Munsen of Sun Ovens International will admit that you'd be disappointed by a steak cooked in a Sun Oven. Of course I'd need a side dish and what goes better with meat than potatoes? I considered the obvious-baked potatoes-but wanted to make something a little more challenging. The next thing to come to mind was a potato gratin, but  after weighing myself this morning the cream, butter and cheese that normally go into that dish were out of the question. Back to the internet where I found this low fat Sicilian Style Potato Gratin recipe. All I did to modify it for solar cooking was reduce the broth to one cup and cover the tin foil sealed baking dish with parchment paper. The cooking time was the same as the original recipe and it came out nicely browned on top.
 A quick note on cookware, specifically about color, since I got a question about it from a reader. Most solar cookers only work with black lightweight pots. I have found that this is not so with a Sun Oven. I use red, green, and black enamel ware pots and don't notice any difference in cooking times. I also use cast iron which increases the cooking time but has the advantage of keeping the food warm even after the sun goes down. Glass and ceramic baking dishes also give excellent results. Even a shiny pan can work if you cover it with a dish towel or parchment paper.

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