Anyone who’s ever had Sun Oven roasted chicken will tell you that it’s some of the juiciest chicken they’ve ever tasted. The meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and infused with flavor.
Crisp skin can be a challenge though. Too often you get a little bit of crispy skin on the very top of the breast while the rest of the bird is submersed in the cooking liquid. And nobody likes soggy skin.
Placing a rack on the bottom of the roasting pan will elevate the chicken, or any other kind of roast, just enough to keep it dry. But don’t discard the juice, drizzle a little bit over each serving just before bringing it to the table.
Fresh rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, a lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil is all the seasoning you need for delicious solar roasted chicken. Two stackable pots and the Sun Oven will do the rest. Peel the garlic, slice up the lemon; put some under the skin of each piece of chicken along with a sprig of rosemary, toss a few more cloves of garlic, a sprig or two of rosemary, and any remaining lemon on top, season with salt and pepper, add a drizzle of oil, cover and roast it in the Sun Oven until the skin is golden and the meat is fall off the bone tender. In the other pot roast some baby potatoes, prepare a salad while everything is cooking and you’ve got dinner.
This classic Italian stew goes great with good, crusty bread or a nice pot of Sun Oven Polenta.
Sun Oven Pollo alla Cacciatora
1 (4 to 4 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into eight pieces
6 bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 cloves garlic, 1 crushed, 2 sliced
2 cups dry red wine
flour, for dusting
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup black olives
2 (14-ounce) cans plum tomatoes, with their juices, roughly chopped
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and put them in a bowl. Add the bay leaves, rosemary, and the crushed clove of garlic. Pour the wine over the chicken, cover and marinate at least one hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
Set the Sun Oven out to preheat. Drain the chicken, reserving the marinade, and pat dry. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Brown the chicken and transfer to a plate. Add the sliced garlic to the Dutch oven and cook for about 1 minute. Add the anchovies and then the reserved marinade. Use a wooden spoon to scape up any browned bits and continue cooking until the wine is reduced by about one half. Add the olives and tomatoes. Return the chicken pieces to the Dutch oven, cover, and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the chicken is fork tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Skim off excess fat from the top of the sauce. Remove and discard the bay leaves and rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes 4 servings.
We’ve been fighting off the sniffles around here for the past few days and what could be better than some solar cooked chicken soup? First thing this morning I got the stock going. Things were a little touch and go there for a while, with the sun going in and out behind the clouds, but the Sun Oven’s temperature never dropped below 200F and it was ready by noon. That left plenty of time, and sunshine, to make a nice pot of comforting soup for dinner.
Sun Oven Chicken Soup
Sun Oven cooking, or any other method of cooking, doesn’t always require a recipe or even planning ahead.
If you have some chicken in the freezer and vegetables in the fridge you’ve probably got all the ingredients for dinner. Earlier today I chopped up a rutabaga, a red onion, and some butternut squash (all were dangerously close to becoming compost) tossed them with some olive oil, and topped them with some frozen chicken pieces.
After a few hours in the Sun Oven dinner was ready to be served.
Sun Oven Chicken Do Pyaza
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
2 large onions
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Chicken Adobo is easy to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Serve it with steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables.
Sun Oven Chicken Adobo
1 (3 pound chicken) skinned and cut into 8 pieces
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 bay leaves
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
There are an infinite number of chicken recipes that are only improved by solar cooking but obtaining crispy skin is a challenge. A challenge I’m still working on. The moist environment and relatively low temperature of the Sun Oven’s cooking chamber lends itself better to slow braising. Not the best cooking method if you want some crunch to your chicken.
After hearing about a new way to prep chicken, or other meats, for roasting on Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s radio show “The Splendid Table” this weekend I had to give it a try. Her guest, Molly Stevens, described a simple method of seasoning the meat with kosher salt and letting it mature in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours and up to (I believe) two days.
With sunny days in the forecast for the rest of the week I got a batch going Tuesday evening. All you have to do is season the chicken with kosher salt, about 1/2 teaspoon per pound. Place it in a baking dish and refrigerate it, uncovered over night or longer. To cook it I let it come to room temperature before putting it on a rack in a baking dish. Then I covered the dish with tin foil and a dark tea towel and put it in a preheated Sun Oven.
After an hour I took a peek. It didn’t look quite done and the skin was still a pale yellow. At this point I decided to let it cook uncovered hoping the skin would brown more. After another 20 minutes in the Sun Oven the result was meat that was moist and delicious and skin that wasn’t soggy but wasn’t exactly crisp either. I think I should have resisted the temptation to uncover the dish. I’ll try it again; hopefully next week’s forecast will be favorable to starting a dish so far in advance. That’s always a risk for the solar chef.
When using the Sun Oven, you can never have too many chicken recipes.
This one is good served over rice or with a crusty bread to soak up the juices.
Sun Oven Braised French Basil Chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper