Solar Cooking Day 2

Solar Cooking Day 2 – Pot Roast

Solar cooking or cooking with a solar oven requires sunshine. Last week I cooked pork chops, and this week I wanted to try a pot roast. I am cooking with the SOS Sport solar oven.

This summer has been very hot and dry, making for a very bad wildfire season in the Southwest. But, last weekend, the forecast for this week called for monsoonal flows to begin on Wednesday (July 4), and perhaps last into the coming weekend. In looking at the forecast, it appeared that Tuesday (July 3) would be the best day of the week to try the pot roast.

I did the shopping on Monday, because I’ve already read enough to know that if whole meals, such as I am trying to prepare, are going to cook successfully in a solar oven, everything needs to go into a preheated oven no later than 10:00 am. Cross rib roast was on sale, as were red potatoes, carrots, and sweet onions. Great! That seemed auspicious.

By 9:00 am on Tuesday, I had the SOS Sport solar oven out on the patio, preheating. Inside, I was doing the food preparation.

Beef pot roast ingredients for solar cooking

Beef pot roast ingredients

Because of the quantity of food involved, I decided to split the ingredients in half and use two pots. Some recipes suggest cooking the meat in one pot, and the vegetables in the other. But part of what makes pot roast so good is the flavor of the vegetables cooked in the beef broth. So, I put half the meat and half the vegetables together in each pot. I brushed the top of the meat with Tamari and then added fresh-ground pepper. That was the only seasoning I used, because I was pretty liberal with fresh garlic and a lot of sweet onion. This is what the pots looked like at the end of prepping.

Ingredients ready for solar cooking of pot roast

Ingredients ready for solar cooking of pot roast

The oven was up to 235 F.

Oven preheated for solar cooking

Oven preheated for solar cooking

The first time I used the Sport oven, I had a hard time with the clips used to fasten the lid to the oven. I thought it was just my hands. In reading, I found a lot of people had trouble with them, and someone suggested the large paper clips (clamp style). So, I decided to try that, and I cannot begin to say how much easier that made things!!!

Solar cooking with SOS Sport, using paper clip clamps in place of clips

Solar cooking with SOS Sport, using paper clip clamps in place of clips

Just as the week before, the temp dropped down to 150 F immediately when the cold food was placed in the oven. It took about 2 hours to get up to 250 F, and it never got over that on this day. Last week I had noticed a big drop in temperature between 4:00 and 4:30, even though the sun was still shining brightly, and it was 100 F in the shade. So, at 4:00 pm, I went out to check on things.

This is what I saw!!!!!!

Thunderstorm moving in at 4:00 pm

Thunderstorm moving in at 4:00 pm; view looking east

The sun was still shining in the west, and inside the house there had been no hint of such a big storm on the horizon. I heard the first clap of thunder as I took this photograph. No time for more – get the food in the house and the oven put away before the storm arrived!! I had just gotten everything in when the heavens opened, and at my house I received 3/8″ of a very welcome rain. I was really glad I had gotten started early, with the idea of having everything cooked by 4:00!

Before taking dinner to my mom’s, I put all the food in one pot to make it easier to transport.

solar cooking - cooked pot roast

solar cooking – cooked pot roast

The pot roast with its vegetables was delicious. The meat was pull-apart tender – how meat from a solar oven can be so much more tender than meat from a regular oven is a mystery to me, but maybe I’ll figure it out someday.

solar cooking - dinner is served

solar cooking – dinner is served

We finished dinner with one of our favorite desserts: angel food cake with berries, with an Independence Day theme!

dessert - red, white, and blue

dessert – red, white, and blue

I think I am going to enjoy this solar cooking experiment!