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Sunny Chili

by Christa Upton
(South Dakota)

Mixing the raw chili ingredients

Mixing the raw chili ingredients

Recipe 18 with the Solar Hot Pot

Sunny Chili

Same day as the rice dish we made for lunch; now on to supper!

This is a very hearty main dish that can be successfully done in fewer hours than a stew. There are no hard veggies that have to be cooked through, and the idea is to get the meat fully cooked early and then not have to be concerned about how the meat gets done with a lot of other ingredients in there (which slows cooking time, especially wet ingredients).

Even though our rice took longer than I thought, I don’t think we will have any trouble getting this chili done. Just in case, I’m going to drain the tomatoes (and maybe add juice in at serving time) to let the Hot Pot get up to temperature quicker.

AND we got another Solar Hot Pot yesterday—we are so excited!!!! It’s all washed and ready to go now, and we are going to do enough chili for leftovers—yay!!! Actually, for “planned-overs” as Mom calls them, which is, of course, exactly what they are. (smile) It will be an easy re-heat another day when we have to be out doing errands all morning.

1:30 pm—swirl of olive oil in the Hot Pot, cover, set up facing the sun. Set timer for 15 minutes.

Then prep:

1/2 onion (chop)
1 clove garlic (mince)
1 sweet pepper (chop)
1 hot pepper (optional) (mince)
3/4 lb. ground meat

You can vary this by using stew meat instead.

In fact, you could even make this meatless—just increase the veggies and beans if you like!

1:45 pm—veggies and meat: add to pot, stir, cover, adjust to sun, set timer for 60 minutes. This time, as I mentioned, we want the meat fully cooked before adding other wet ingredients.

Then prep: have all ingredients ready, even set cans in the sun to maybe get a head start on warming and make it easier for the pot to get up to temperature quickly.

Okay, with our “double batch,” we are going to divide the meat/veggies in half and add cans to each Pot. But if you have only one Hot Pot, of course you can cut down on the number of cans of additions. Just try not to fill your Pot more than 2/3 full. (And your chili will be meatier than mine, or you can cut back on the meat, too.)

Just before 1:30, open cans etc. To make it easier to add everything quickly, you can put the seasonings right in the can on top of the beans or tomatoes once you have drained them.

Preheat the second Hot Pot for up to 15 minutes. (You can time it by guessing when your meat is going to be done, or you can just preheat after the meat is done and give the meat more time in the first Hot Pot—it won’t hurt it.)

2:45 pm—check and stir meat to make sure thoroughly cooked. (If not, quickly close pot and continue cooking meat. Again, the good news is that adding only the ingredients below, nothing really needs to be “cooked” after the meat, just warmed up and flavors melded. But be careful of food safety principles, not leaving food more than 2 hours at temperatures below 150 degrees.)

Transfer half of the meat/veggies into the second Hot Pot.

To one Pot of meat, add:

1 can tomatoes (any kind), drained (save juice for thinning chili later or use in another soup or another dish)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can corn, drained
1 T chili powder
1 t. cumin
dash or two cayenne
salt (& pepper if desired)

To the other Pot of meat, add:

2 cans tomatoes (any kind), drained (save juice for thinning chili later or use in another soup or another dish)
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 T chili powder
1 t. cumin
dash or two cayenne
salt (& pepper)

Cover, adjust to sun, set timer for 60 minutes.

3:45 pm—check food temp (should be at least 150 for food safety). If okay, set timer for 1 hour.

4:45 pm—check food temp (hopefully holding at least 150 for food safety, but still not bad some below that if you can eat by 5:30 pm and immediately chill any leftovers).

Adjust to sun, set timer for suppertime.

(Prep sides for chili if haven’t already. Ideas: carrot & celery sticks with dip, salad, bread and butter, garlic bread, cornbread, pasta, potatoes)

This chili tasted great—thick and chunky. It’s not overly spicy, though it might be if you added hot peppers! (smile) But of course if you like it spicier and don’t have hot peppers, you can increase the chili powder and cayenne.

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Jul 09, 2014
Reply--Thank you!
by: Christa Upton


LOL A large part of the reason I am able to do this is all the wonderful information on your website!!! :) I am enjoying SO much combining your solar cooking principles with my favorite recipes and stuff I’ve learned from watching Food Network.

(Oh, and I’m very motivated to keep the heat out of our living space!)

Thanks! :)


Jun 24, 2014
Solar cook Jealousy??
by: Nathan

I thought I was an avid solar cook and that I cooked a lot with my solar cookers, but I am finding a worthy rival (or nemesis ;) in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
I could almost swear that you really are more than just a novice solar cook based on the output and production you have been able to yield with your Hot Pot solar cookers.

Keep up the good work!


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