Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Solar Cooked Chicken and Potatoes

So far we have cooked chicken twice on the solar cooker. When cooking, it is very much like cooking with a crock pot so pretty much anything you can do with a crock pot you can do with a solar cooker and a big pot.

When I made our solar funnel I decided to go with chicken and potatoes again because it was familiar and I wanted to have a point of comparison to see how my funnel rated.

I put a whole seasoned chicken into a 3 gallon stock pot and surrounded it with cut up potatoes ( a good inch or so to a side) and onions and popped on the lid. I used this pot because it is the only dark pot I have big enough for a chicken, but when you do it, try and use something smaller if possible. The pot barely fit in the turkey bag so the advantage of the bag was largely lost.

The bag is used to allow in the suns rays while holding the heat created. It also serves as a barrier preventing the breeze from whisking the heat away from the pot. Basically it makes its own mini oven.

I kept an eye on it through the day and noticed the chicken was cooked through within 2 hours. Unfortunately that was much too early to eat dinner, but the good thing about cooking like this is everything is wrapped tight, the heat is gentle and the chicken stays moist. There is no crispy chicken when cooking this way, at least so far in my experience.

If it seems like things may overcook you can simply change the orientation of the cooker so it gets less direct sunlight and simply stays hot.

End results? Moist, falling off the bone chicken, tender potatoes and onions and great flavor. Another interesting thing, there was a good 2 cups of liquid in the bottom of the pot to make gravy with.

I imagine this could make a nice chicken cacciatore or any similar dish using a moist heat cooking method. Just keep in mind to use less liquid then normal because you will not loose any to evaporation.

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