"Charro Beans" for our first solar cooking experiment.

by Sullivan
(Sidney, Texas)

I've just recently become interested in solar cooking, and I chose to start my adventure with the Hot Pot. I decided on a pot of Charro beans for the inaugural dish, which turned out well.

I started with a pound of dry pinto beans in the pot. They were NOT pre-soaked and I wondered whether that would turn out to be a mistake. It did not, but be advised that I had full sun all day. If you are to be limited on sun or temperature, pre-soaking might be prudent. Always be sure to inspect the beans for small rocks.

I added 6 cups of chicken broth (could use water, or maybe throw in some bouillon cubes, for flavor), a medium, rough chopped onion, 2 slices thick sliced peppered bacon, cut in 1 inch pieces(just about any of bacon kind would be fine, and substituting ham or ham hocks would be even better).

I threw in 4 large, sliced cloves of garlic, 4 crushed and ground chipotle peppers, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt. I tend to like things spicy (hot) and I could have used more heat, but you can vary all these things according to your own tastes. Use caution with the salt, early on, especially if your adding salted broth to the recipe. I added chopped cilantro after I brought the pot in, and let it steep for a few minutes.

Simple, easy and flavorful. The options are endless, like adding jalapenos or other chilies, a can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, chicken, sausage, or make them "meat free".

I started cooking at 9:00 a.m. and took the beans in at 6:00 p.m., although they were plenty done at 4:00. I had full sun, a high of 95 degrees, and winds at 5 to 10 mph. I adjusted the position of the cooker three times, anticipating the sun's movement. I noticed that the liquid was still relatively clear, which I prefer to the thick, starchy broth we'd have if cooked over a flame.

All in all, a successful first solar recipe.


Thank You very much Sullivan for sharing this recipe and your first solar cooking attempt.

It's always great when you can have a successful first attempt...which as you now know is not very hard to do with solar cooking.

The recipe sounds like my kind of food...will definitely be trying this one.


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