Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Solar Chili

If you are a chili lover, then using your solar cooker to make a big pot o' is a must.

I love chili, but still hadn't found a recipe I was happy with so looked around the web and found this one. We invited ourselves over to my aunt and uncles and decided if the recipe was bad, then they could suffer with us.

Turns out, this is the best chili I have had. If you look at the recipe, you will notice it is light on beans. For those of you who think chili isn't chili without a strong focus on beans, well, give it a shot. You may just like it.

I multiplied the recipe by 3 and followed it except for the jalapenos. I cut it back by half because of the audience eating (kids and wimps) but after eating it, I think most anyone could eat it as written.

To start, I browned the meat on the stove and then removed it from the heat. The peppers and onions were sweated in the residual heat from the mean off the stove. Everything else was by the recipe to include adding the beans an hour or so before we ate.

Times weren't the same as the recipe, but to give an idea of how well the solar funnel heats, this is what we did. Adding the tomatoes, sauce and spices brought the temp of the meat and veggies down to about room temp. We put it out about 2 in the afternoon and by 3 everything was hot. By 4 it was lightly simmering and ready to add the beans which were at room temp. By 5 it was ready to eat.

Just the other day we made this recipe again but instead of the canned beans I used dry and I used enough to make twice what the recipe called for to stretch it a bit. The day was cloudy so it was started on the stove with the beans brought to a boil and left to sit for 30 minutes before adding them to the pot. The picture above is from this second batch.

Everything went outside by 1pm when the sun came out and stayed until dinner at 6. It went from just hot to actually boiling within an hour or so. Providing you have a clear day, there is no reason everything except browning the meat can't take place using the sun. Even with dry beans instead of canned.

Multiplying that recipe by 3 gave us about 2 and a half gallons. Enough for dinner, 3- 2 quart portions to freeze for later meals and enough for my wife to take to work the next day.


Anonymous said...

I am going camping and want to use the Windshield Shade Solar Funnel Cooker. I cannot brown the meat first. I was thinking of cooking without the ground beef but throw the hot dog into the pot to cook all together. Afterwards, pull the hot dogs out of the pot into buns and ladle the chili on top. I am also thinking of cooking a large batch. This is for a late night snack. So, after it finished cooking, I'll wrap the pot up in the sun shade to keep it warm until we eat it. Just want to pass the idea by you to see what you'd think. Any suggestions are welcome. I'll check back for your response. Thanks for a great blog!

Tracy said...

I could swear I had read and responded to your comment waayyy..... back when you wrote it so I'm sorry I apparently did not do it correctly. At any rate, for those who may happen across this now I'll do so again.

As far as cooking and then holding for a period of time (hours? ), I'd recommend also wrapping the pot in a towel/blanket/comforter, etc. depending on the size. Possibly wrap it with your sunshade shiny side in and then again with the blanket or whatever around that to help keep the heat in. My concern is the chili cooling too much and causing any sort of food born illness.

Unfortunately I have not been around to do any further solar cooking the last couple years but will be doing so again this summer if all goes well. When I do, I'll post more recipes and experiences and look forward to any more comments and questions and even any recipes and experiences any readers may have.