02 September 2009

Slow Cooker Chili: Dry Beans vs. Canned Beans

There is a difference, folks. I learned this the hard way when setting out on a cooking adventure last week. I was pretty excited to check out a recipe from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook and whip something up. I mean, that's the point of the cookbook, right? America's Test Kitchen, where all the recipes have been tried and tried again, that anyone should be able to do it?

Well, yes.

Except if you misread the ingredient list.

And buy the wrong ingredient.

I was busy in the kitchen, chopping, sauteing, reading the recipe. I even washed the beans. I knew I had to do that in some shape or form. I even left them in a bowl to soak. After I had put some of the other ingredients together, I thought it would be a good idea to just drain the water from the soaking beans. I didn't give it a second thought.

I poured all the ingredients into the slow cooker and set it to cook. I skimmed the recipe again for a sign as to when the beans should be added. I read that it said during the last hour of cooking. That didn't seem right for hard beans to only cook in an hour.

That's when I noticed.

The recipe said two 15-ounce CANS of red kidney beans.

I read it as two 15-ounce BAGS of red kidney beans.

Big difference.

So a couple of hours into the cooking time, I decided that if I had to cook these beans from their mostly dry state, I better add them in now. Hopefully by the end of the cooking time they should be alright. I let it cook for another two hours. When I checked the beans, they were still crunchy.

That's when I twittered my problem.

And called my mom.

And my aunt.

I'm relieved to report that after what must have been six to eight hours of slow cooking, the chili came out well. I was happy that the turkey meat I used didn't disintegrate into nothingness. I'm glad I didn't totally screw it up.

Note to self: read the instructions. CAREFULLY.

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