French Style Stew


Beef Stew

There’s nothing like a hearty stew on a cold night. And like most stews, this one is even better the next day.

Provençal Beef Stew


3 tablespoons olive oil

4 ounces salt pork or thick cut bacon, diced

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into chunks, patted dry with paper towels

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

2 teaspoons tomato paste

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry red wine

2/3 cup beef broth or stock

1 bouquet garni, (sage, thyme, basil or herbs of choice)

1 small onion, peeled and studded with 2 cloves

grated zest and juice of 1/2 orange

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

salt and pepper to taste


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the salt pork and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork to a large pot. In the same skillet, working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, transferring it to the pot as it browns. Add oil as needed. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the carrot and continue cooking until just softened, about 4 more minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and the garlic. Pour the wine and broth over the meat in the pot. Add the onion studded with the cloves and the bouquet garni. Add the vegetable mixture from the skillet. Cover and transfer the pot to the Sun Oven. Cook until the beef is very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Remove and discard the bouquet garni and the whole onion. Stir in the orange zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sun Oven Autumn Stew

Beef Stew

A hearty solar simmered stew with a chunk of crusty bread makes a perfect fall dinner.

Autumn Beef Stew


2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 1/2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into chunks and patted dry

1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 onion, chopped

1 1/2 cups pie pumpkin or sweet potatoes, seeded, peeled, and cubed

2 small red potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 small turnip, peeled and cubed

1 cup acorn squash, seeded, peeled, and cubed

3 cups beef broth

1 can (14 1/2-ounces) diced tomatoes, with their juices

2 bay leaves

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Put the flour in a large plastic food storage bag. Add the beef, close the bag, and shake to coat. Working in batches and adding oil as needed, brown the beef, transferring it to a plate as it browns. Pour the wine into the Dutch oven stirring constantly with a wooded spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Stir in the remaining ingredients, onion through clove. Return the beef with any accumulated juices to the Dutch oven. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the beef is very tender, 2 to 3 hours.

Makes 6 servings.


Solar Meatball Stew

Meatball Stew

The spices in this stew are reminiscent of  Northern African cuisine and go best with couscous, but it could also be served with a good, crusty bread or pasta.

Solar Moroccan Style Meatballs


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound ground lean ground beef

2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided

1 cup diced tomatoes

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


Set Sun Oven out to preheat.

In a large pot, combine the oil, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook in the Sun Oven until the onion is soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare the meatballs while the onion mixture is cooking. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Using damp hands, shape the beef mixture into 24 meatballs; set aside.

Bring the pot with the onions in and leave Sun Oven out. Add the tomatoes, water, and tomato paste. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add the meatballs. Cover and return the pot to the Sun Oven. Cook until the meatballs are cooked through, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the pot from the Sun Oven. Stir in the lemon juice and mint. Serve over couscous.


Solar Beef and Veggie Loaf

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

Read more »

Solar Beef Stew with A Kick

Beef Stew with Espresso

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

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Solar Beef Stew

Beef Stew with 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

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Solar Braised Short Rib Stew

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

Sun Oven American Classic

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

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Solar Pasta Sauce with Beef Short Ribs

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

Read more »

Tips for the Perfect Sun Oven Meat Loaf

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.

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