Tortillas, Rice, and Beans

Recently, someone asked our team if a  Sun Bucket could be used to adequately prepare tortillas or a big pot of beans. The answer is yes, and quite easily – this is one of the first things ever prepared on a Sun Bucket. But since I’ve never personally made these things on a Sun Bucket, guess what was for dinner.

The Sun Bucket started at 644 °F (340 C).

If I were using my gas range, I would have had two or three burners going at the same time. But since I’m loyal to my Sun Bucket, I planned ahead to be as efficient as possible (my two pint-sized food critics are impatient when they’re hungry). First, the tortillas. 2 cups of flour, a little salt, 3/4 C. water, and about 3 T. of oil. Since the dough has to be kneaded for 10-12 minutes, I kept the lid on the Sun Bucket. When the dough was nice and smooth, had rested for a few minutes, it was divided into eight equal parts, and rolled out into shapes reminiscent of a circle.

I laid a sheet aluminum foil on the Sun Bucket’s cooking surface and sprayed it with cooking spray. The tortillas needed 1 minute on each side. These were a little thicker than the kind you can buy at the store, but so much better – chewy and slightly charred.

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The tortillas were done in 20 minutes, so it was time to get the rice going: 1 C. of white long-grained rice, 2 C. of water, 1 t. of coconut oil, salt, and lime zest.

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The rice came to a boil in just a few minutes, and then it was time to simmer, covered. The best way that I’ve found to do this, is to move the pot off to the side, away from the middle of the cooking surface. The same way you might move things to the edge of the grate for indirect heat on a charcoal grill, or moving your pot to the coals instead of over the flame of a fire when you’re camping.

So, now I’ve got the rice in my small stock pot off to the side and most of the heat transfer plate (the cooking surface) exposed and losing heat. I figured I may as well get the beans going at the same time and use that energy instead of letting the Sun Bucket cool off too quickly.

I rinsed my pre-soaked cup of black beans and put them in a pot with about 5 C of water, a quarter of a red onion, salt, lime zest, and half of a lime’s juice. It was tight on top of the Sun Bucket with two pots, but it worked. The beans hit a full boil in under 10 minutes and I had to move them off to a side so that they could also simmer. By this time, the rice was just about done.

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While I waited for the beans to finish cooking, I chopped up some leftover chicken, diced a little red onion, and got ready to eat. The beans took approximately 35 minutes before they were tender.

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Each tortilla was topped with rice, beans, chicken, onion, and some squeezed lime. All said and done, the Sun Bucket was working for 66 minutes. The combined mass of the tortillas, rice, and black beans (including the liquid) was 2.4 kg and approximately 1660 calories.

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