This traditional slow cooked Italian roast is an ideal candidate for solar cooking. Don’t be surprised when you lift the lid to find that the milk has curdled, it’s supposed to do that.
Italian Pork Solar Braised in Milk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Zest of 1 lemon
1 boneless pork loin roast, trimmed (2 1/2 – 3 lb.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
As good as last Sunday’s pasta was, I still prefer that particular dish when it’s prepared the traditional way, so I spent the next few days searching for recipes that used similar ingredients but were more adaptable to solar cooking. I found one on epicurious.com, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Torta, that consisted of layers of crespelle (an Italian version of crepes), bechamel sauce, rapini, and sausage.
The crespelle were way too much work and I didn’t like the idea of a butter based sauce (bechamel) combined with the other ingredients. I decided to make up something of my own. I used no-boil, whole-wheat lasagna noodles and made an olive oil based bechamel.
I think I’m on the right track, but as you can see in the picture I was a little short on sauce. The top noodles were too dry and I had to throw them away.
Once I get the quantities right this will probably be put on our dinner rotation. It makes a satisfying one dish meal and the leftovers are good for an easy to reheat lunch. And, of course, when I have those quantities I’ll post the recipe here.
If you made these pork chops on the stovetop it would only take 15 minutes so it’s not exactly the kind of recipe I’d normally adapt for solar cooking. But I use frozen chops straight from the freezer without browning them first. Bake a couple of sweet potatoes alongside for a perfect side dish.
Solar Braised Orange Pork Chops
4 frozen 1/2-inch-thick pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Place pork chops in one layer in a pot. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, orange juice, wine, and lemon juice. Cover and cook in Sun Oven until meat is tender, about 1 hour. Serve with cooking juices.
The original recipe for these pork chops called for browning the meat, but the first time I made it I’d forgotten to take the chops out of the freezer; a common occurrence in my kitchen. I hate defrosting things in the microwave and I had my heart set on this dish, so I skipped the whole browning part and made it with the still frozen meat. It came out just fine and I’ve made it that way ever since. If you prefer, and have defrosted chops on hand, you could go ahead and brown them in some vegetable oil first. If you do, your cooking time might be a bit shorter.
Solar Braised Pork Chops with Apricots
Two 1-inch thick loin pork chops (fresh or frozen)
The moist cooking environment of the GSO’s cooking chamber means that even lean cuts of meat can be slow cooked and still come out tender. This slow-roasted pork tenderloin is a perfect example.
Sun Oven Cranberry-Apricot Pork Tenderloin
1 pound pork tenderloin
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup canned cranberry sauce
1/2 cup sliced dried apricots, sliced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon grated orange zest
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Combine the cranberry sauce, apricots, cornstarch, cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper in bowl and set aside.
Season the pork with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning frequently, until browned, about 6 minutes. Pour cranberry sauce mixture over the pork, cover, and transfer to GSO. Cook until fork tender, about 3 hours.
Transfer pork to a cutting board and slice. Stir the orange zest into the fruit sauce and serve with the pork.
Makes 4 servings.
This roast is slow cooked in enough red wine to almost cover it, making it extremely tender and giving it a beautiful, deep mahogany color. I adapted it for the Global Sun Oven from Marcella Hazan’s must have Italian cookbook, “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking”. When the meat is done there should be a small amount of syrupy sauce in the pot. I’ve yet to achieve that without reducing the liquid on the stove after removing the roast from the GSO. It’s still very good and only takes about 5 minutes of conventional cooking to create the luscious sauce that will make your friends think you spent hours slaving over a hot stove.
Drunk Solar Roast Pork
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut lengthwise into 3/8-inch thick sticks
3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork center loin, trussed with string
Sun Oven® pulled pork has to be one of the easiest things in the world to make. Just take a pork shoulder roast, if it’s really big cut it into two or three pieces, season it with a dry rub, and put it in a pot with about 1/4 a cup of liquid smoke. Cook it in the Sun Oven until the meat is tender. Remove the roast from the cooking juices then let it cool down a bit before pulling it into strands. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce. It’s so good everyone will want seconds.
Commercial dry rubs will do, but making your own is easy and less expensive. Here’s the spice mixture I use:
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dry mustard
Combine all the ingredients in a jar, close the lid, shake to combine