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Winter Cooking in the Solar Oven:

Solavore Smokin’ Chili

Blue sky, fresh snow, and sunshine…winter days are meant for outside play. And why not outside cooking, too? Solar cooking works on the rays of the sun, not the ambient outdoor temperature. Snow on the ground? All the better – it actually works like a big reflector. So strap on snowshoes, set the solar oven out to cook, and come home to a steaming bowl of piping hot Solavore Smokin’ Chili.

Solavore Smokin’ Chili

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 pounds ground chuck beef, ground for chili
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large white onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 habanero chili, seeded and very finely chopped
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper
4 (14.5-ounce) diced fire-roasted tomatoes, coarsely chopped with their juices
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
1 (12-ounce) bottle amber beer
2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Tortilla chips, for serving
Shredded cheddar cheese, for serving
Chopped tomatoes, for serving
Sour cream, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches if necessary, add beef and cook until no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; drain in a colander, discarding fat, and set aside.

2. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to skillet and reduce heat to medium. Add onions, garlic, and habanero; season with salt. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.

3. Combine beef, onion mixture, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and chipotle pepper; stir to combine. Add tomatoes, cilantro, and beer. Divide evenly between two Solavore Sport Granite Ware pots. Cover, set in sun and cook for 5 hours. You may wish to use reflectors if you are getting a late start (noon or later) or there are passing clouds. (Chili may be frozen at this point and re-heated at a later date. Thaw completely before proceeding to next step.)

4. Add kidney beans and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for an additional hour or until beans are heated through. Garnish with cilantro and serve with desired toppings.

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