Without a doubt most of you know how to roast a chicken but here’s how I do it . . . start to finish.
Early this morning . . about 6:30, I started brining a whole chicken. I poured about 1/2 cup of salt into a container large enough to keep the chicken submerged under the salt water. I added hot tap water to dissolve the salt. Then I added ice and cold water.
Once the chicken is in the container, I stick it aside and leave the chicken in the brine for at least 3 hours. I continue to add ice to keep the water cold.
After the brining is done, I remove the chicken, rinse it thoroughly, the outside and the cavity. I pat it dry, inside and outside. I don’t measure the seasonings and just use whatever I happen to see that looks good. I used Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, black pepper, Hot Salt, garlic powder, some blend I found in the cabinet called Mediterranean Sea Salt and I’m sure there was some other stuff. As I’m seasoning the outside, I dump a little in a bowl and use that to season the inside of the cavity. Since the skin isn’t going to get crispy in the solar oven, we’re not going to eat the skin so we want the seasonings to go through the skin. Therefore, I season it a little more heavily than I would if I were roasting this in the oven where the skin would get crispy and someone might eat it.
Once it’s seasoned to my liking, I stick it in a colander with a bowl beneath it to catch the drippings, and place it, uncovered, in the fridge for several hours. This helps it to dry out a little.
When it’s time to put it in the solar oven (and this is exactly how I would do a chicken if I were roasting it in the oven, or in the Nesco roaster or in a rotating type roaster), I remove it from the fridge, stick it in the pot and let it sit for maybe 15 minutes. I don’t want it to come all the way to room temp but I want it to be warmer than ice cold when I stick it in the oven.
Granite Ware is one of the types cooking dishes they recommend for the solar oven and lucky for me, I had some Granite Ware pieces and one that fits perfectly in the solar oven and perfectly holds one whole chicken. I used a Norpro dark loaf pan and baked one sweet potato and one baking potato . . just to see how they did in the solar oven.
About 1:30 p.m., I put the chicken and potatoes in the oven. I was counting on cooking it about 3 hours and figured if it wasn’t done, that would give me time to finish it off in the kitchen oven. Everything was going according to schedule. The instructions recommend turning the oven a bit every half hour, to keep capturing the most of the sun’s rays. I was knitting and when I looked out the window, I saw this:
No! I needed a cloudless sky! A few times the sun went behind the clouds but the temp in the oven stayed around 250º during those times, so I left the chicken in the oven an extra hour before checking the internal temp. When I checked it about 5:15, it was at 175º, which is plenty done, the potatoes were done so everything came out and it was time for dinner.
The chicken was perfect! Totally perfect! It was so moist and so juicy and tender. I got a couple of sauces out of the fridge but Vince said the chicken was too good to add any kind of sauce. When I asked him what he thought about it, he said “It didn’t cost anything to cook it!” I guess . . if you don’t count the cost of the solar oven!
The potatoes were good too. I couldn’t tell any difference in them from potatoes cooked in the regular oven.
So far, I’m 100% happy with the solar oven!