Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Root Vegetables, Chicken Thighs, and Rice. All in One Sun Oven

 It was supposed to be cloudy and rainy again today, but when I heard the wind storm last night I knew it would blow the clouds away. Sure enough, I woke up to a clear blue sky. A perfect day for solar cooking.

 To make the most of the Sun Oven I stacked a pyrex baking dish with a mixture of root vegetables on top of a enamel roasting pan with chicken thighs and brown rice. Since I could use the lid, I covered the roasting pan with aluminum foil and parchment paper. For some reason I took everything out around 2:30 even though the oven chamber was still hot and it was no where near dinner time.
 The chicken thighs were done, but it wouldn't have hurt to leave everything else in a little longer. I always forget the more stuff you put in the Sun Oven the longer the cooking times will be. The vegetables and the rice weren't inedible, just a little under cooked. In any case, paired with some greens, it was a perfectly acceptable dinner.


  1. Yay for stacking! I've got two tips that might help, although one may not technically meet your requirements for all solar cooking. When there's limited time to get a lot of food cooked by the sun, I sometimes bring the water (for the rice) to a boil in the microwave before pouring it over the rice and putting it in the SunOven. It helps a lot.

    The second tip is when I stack pans, I've found it helps to have an air gap between them if possible. I create this by putting a baking rack between them - just enough space to let the hot air circulate around both pans. Without the leveling tray, a baking rack on the bottom helps achieve the same thing. (Use multiple cookie cutters of the same height if you don't have baking racks.)

    We had sun here, too, but I didn't get organized in time to use it. My back yard also is DARK by 2 pm in the winter which really stinks for solar cooking.

  2. D'oh! Just caught up on some earlier posts here and saw your brillian use of canning jar rings. :)

  3. I'll have to remember the air gap tip. I know to use it the prevent food from touching the pan above but never really thought of it in other situations. Yesterday's food was not really so bad. I actually like my rice a little firm, but Martin thought it was to 'al dente'. The veggies were fine too, I just would have preferred them to be a tiny bit more soft.

    To be honest the chicken and rice was an after thought. I put them in the Sun Oven after the veggies had been in for about twenty minutes. In the summer that would be no problem, but it's best to avoid opening the glass door this time of year.

    Starting with boiling water is a good idea too. I do that when I remember. I don't want to be fanatic about only using my Sun Oven, for me it's mostly about the flavor and the fun!