Unlike in a conventional oven, solar-cooked meatloaf needs to be baked in a covered pan. If your roasting pan doesn’t have a lid you can improvise with aluminum foil and a dark tea towel but don’t leave it uncovered, the condensation will lower the cooking chamber’s temperature.
This meat loaf is packed with veggies and delicious when served with pasta and a simple tomato sauce. Shredded cabbage or zucchini can be used in place of the broccoli slaw.
Sun Oven Meat and Veggie Loaf
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
6 ounces broccoli slaw mix
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup dry red wine
Instant espresso powder adds depth of flavor to many dishes, from beef stew to chocolate cake.
Sun Oven Espresso Stew
1 onion, sliced
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup dry red wine
Like most beef stews, this one is much better the next day. Store it in the refrigerator overnight then gently reheat it either in the Sun Oven or stove top. Serve it with a good, crusty bread.
Sun Oven Beef Stew with Wine
1 pound beef stew meat
2 tablespoons butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
Serve this hearty stew with some good, crusty bread. It’s perfect on a cold winter’s evening.
Sun Oven Short Ribs with Mustard Sauce
6 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch chunks, and patted dry with paper towels
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups baby carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Set Sun Oven out to preheat.
In a serving bowl, stir together the sour cream, mustard and chives. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Mix together the flour, salt,and pepper on a plate. Coat beef with the season flour, shaking off excess. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining beef. Put the beef and any juices back in the Dutch oven, Stir in the potatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, broth, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the meat is very tender, 2 1/2 t0 4 hours. Serve with mustard sauce.
Makes 6 servings
Braising meat in the Sun Oven doesn’t take much longer than traditional methods. And if you use a Dutch oven you can always finish it up stove top if you get a late start or some clouds roll in. Just transfer it to the stove over medium low heat.
Sun Oven Pot Roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (about 2 pounds) round beef roast, trimmed and patted dry with paper towels
2 onions, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
I got the idea for this sauce from my favorite local Italian restaurant, Franco Trattoria in Whittier. It’s a lot less labor intensive than regular bolognese and just as tasty. Like any good meat sauce it needs to simmer for at least three hours and only gets better if it cooks even longer.
Slow Simmered Sun Oven Tomato Sauce with Short Ribs
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 boneless beef short ribs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
I read somewhere that meat loaf is one of America’s twelve most popular foods.
Cooking it in the Sun Oven is a good way to ensure it maintains its high ranking.
Given that it is so popular I’m sure most of you have your own favorite recipe.
To adapt yours for solar cooking you’ll only need to find a way to cover it. You could always go the aluminum foil and tea towel route, but I prefer to use an oval roasting pan. Mine is 14 inches long and just fits in the cooking chamber by placing it on the leveling tray on a diagonal.
It’s big enough to hold a standard bread pan with room for potatoes around the sides. The meat loaf comes out nicely browned and any juices that might overflow will be caught in the roasting pan.
For a larger loaf I line the roasting pan with foil and bake it without the bread pan. The foil makes it easy to lift the meat loaf out and the pan keeps the juices out of the Sun Oven’s cooking chamber. On a final note, my two favorite meat loaf recipes can be found here and here.
The stacking pots that come with the Sun Oven accessory package are ideal for preparing this stew. If you don’t have them, or any other stackable pots, the carrots can be cooked in the same pot as the meat. Add them towards the end of the cooking time so they don’t get too mushy. I like to cook them separately so they retain their color.
Double-Decker Sun Oven Beef Stew
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed of fat and patted dry
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
I’ve never made short ribs in anything other than my Sun Oven so I can’t really compare them to those prepared in a traditional oven or a slow-cooker. I can compare them to the ones I’ve had in restaurants. They’re just as good and a whole lot cheaper.
Sun Oven Braised Short Ribs with Herbes de Provence
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds short ribs
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 onions, sliced
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Almost every Sunday in kitchens across Northern Italy you’ll find a large pot of “Brodo di Carne” simmering on the stove.
The broth is used throughout the week in risottos and soups.
The meat is sliced up and served with pesto like sauce called “Salsa Verde” (not to be confused with the Mexican salsa of the same name) or “mostarda di cremona”.
I like to use the meat for sandwiches to go into packed lunches.
Sun Oven Italian Meat Broth
For the Broth
4 pounds beef chuck, with bone
2 small onions, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
2 celery stalks, with leaves