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
This Vietnamese style chicken soup is a meal in a bowl. Serve it with garnishes on the side for each person to add in the amount and combination they want. Hot sauce and hoisin sauce can also be offered.
Sun Oven Chicken Pho
1 pound chicken thighs, skinned
6 fresh cilantro sprigs
3 scallions, white and green parts separated
2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed and unpeeled
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 star anise
8 cups chicken broth
salt to taste
A simple mixture of rosemary, garlic, and sunshine is enough to make roast chicken that’s always a crowd pleaser.
Solar Roasted Chicken with Garlic and Rosemary
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
This autumn-colored soup is perfect on a cold winter’s night. Cook the base in the Sun Oven then gently reheat it at dinner time adding the final touches as it simmers on the stove. You’ll need a large 5 to 6 quart pot and will most likely have to remove the leveling tray to fit it in the cooking chamber. Chicken breast can be used in place of the thighs, but I prefer the flavor and texture of the latter.
Sun Oven Curried Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (13 1/2 ounces) coconut milk
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
4 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds) skin and visible fat removed
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
4 green onions, thinly sliced (keep green and white parts separate)
This simple chicken dish has to marinate at least 2 hours. Unless you don’t mind chopping garlic and cutting up chicken before breakfast it’s probably best to marinate it overnight. Garam masala is an Indian spice mixture that can be found in many supermarkets and at all Indian markets.
No Fuss Sun Oven Chicken Masala
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (4 to 4 1/2 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces, backbone removed
I’ll admit, this is a recipe that still needs a little tweaking. The goal was, of course, a crispy coating without all the calories of fried chicken. That was partially achieved, at least the bit of coating that didn’t come off when I took the chicken legs off the rack was slightly crispy. I’d make two changes next time: I’d leave the skin on and I’d cook it uncovered.
Sun Oven “Fried” Chicken Legs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon hot sauce
8 chicken legs, skin removed
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika