Probably the biggest misconception I had about solar cooking in my pre-Sun Oven days was that all meals would have to be carefully planned in advance. It’s true that when you have a Sun Oven you’ll need to start thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner much earlier in the day (unless you’re like me and never really stop thinking about what’s for dinner) but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvisation. Our lunch today is a prefect example. Our schedule has been hectic the past few days and my fridge was practically empty. The freezer wasn’t much better. But I did find some frozen braised red cabbage, I had broth, rice, and Parmesan cheese. That spells risotto.

Risotto is actually a very easy thing to make, and Sun Oven risotto is even easier. The base recipe is the same: sauté onion in butter until soft, add rice and sauté for about a minute, add wine stir until evaporated, stir in cooked vegetables or other add-in, add very hot broth; stir well, cover and place in Sun Oven for 20 minutes. If it’s still too watery after 20 minutes continue cooking in Sun Oven for another 10 minutes. Remove pot from Sun Oven, stir in Parmesan cheese and any fresh herbs, serve. For one cup of dry rice you’ll need 1/4 to 1/2 cup wine and 3 cups broth and you’ll get 4 servings.

Today’s add-in was about 2 cups of braised cabbage, the risotto was good but probably would have been better with about 1/2 of cooked beans in addition to the cabbage. Other good add-ins are cooked squash, leftover minestrone, or asparagus.

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