Home > Did I just ruin my chili?

Did I just ruin my chili?

January 28th, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I was in the mood for some turkey chili today, so I got the whole thing going this morning. It's been cooking on "Low," since 9 am and is supposed to be done at 8 pm, in another 2 hours.

I was feeling nervous about the beans, because I used dried beans. About 2 cups black beans and 1 cup red kidney beans. I know from past experience that you really need to cook them in WATER, not chicken broth or any other kind of liquid other than water, becus they just won't cook.

But that's exactly what I did, hoping it might work. The only liquid I had in the chili was about 2 cups of very watery tomatoes i had frozen from last summer's veggie garden, and I was hoping that would be enough.

So I decided to taste it now, and while the black beans are ok (I must have partially cooked them before freezing them) the red kidney beans, which I soaked overnight, are still pretty hard after 8 hours of cooking!

I read on the plastic bag for the kidney beans that you need 4 cups of water to cook them til soft. So I hated doing it, but I heated up 2 cups of water and added that to my lovely chili, making it very watery. I'm hoping the beans will absorb all that extra liquid.

I turned the temp to High and am hoping that will do the trick in another 2 hours. Either that, or I'll be eating dinner around midnight.

What do you think?

9 Responses to “Did I just ruin my chili?”

  1. CCraw Says:

    I would think you'd just need to add chili powder to taste and you might be able to thicken it with a bit of corn starch? I've never done it but it might work. Good luck, I hate it when something like this happens!

  2. LuckyRobin Says:

    I guess all you can do is try it when that time is up. If it didnt work then you may have to cook it on low overnight to get it to come out right, which means it may not be salvageable for tonight's dinner but could be for tomorrow's lunch.

  3. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Kidney beans do need to get throughly cooked to break down a TOXIN that is naturally in them. (There are a few other beans like that, too, but they are not popular in the US.)

    I think it is the tomato that keeps the beans from cooking any faster. Its always best to cook your beans before adding any tomato product.

    Also, the older your kidney beans are, the longer it takes for them to soften.

  4. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    I looked it up about the toxin. The FDA says

    "Phytohaemagglutinin, the presumed toxic agent, is found in many species of beans, but it is in highest concentration in red kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris). The unit of toxin measure is the hemagglutinating unit (hau). Raw kidney beans contain from 20,000 to 70,000 hau, while fully cooked beans contain from 200 to 400 hau. White kidney beans, another variety of Phaseolus vulgaris, contain about one-third the amount of toxin as the red variety; broad beans (Vicia faba) contain 5 to 10% the amount that red kidney beans contain.

    The syndrome is usually caused by the ingestion of raw, soaked kidney beans, either alone or in salads or casseroles. As few as four or five raw beans can trigger symptoms. Several outbreaks have been associated with "slow cookers" or crock pots, or in casseroles which had not reached a high enough internal temperature to destroy the glycoprotein lectin. It has been shown that heating to 80C may potentiate the toxicity five-fold, so that these beans are more toxic than if eaten raw. In studies of casseroles cooked in slow cookers, internal temperatures often did not exceed 75C."


    "NOTE: The following procedure has been recommended by the PHLS to render kidney, and other, beans safe for consumption:

    Soak in water for at least 5 hours.
    Pour away the water.
    Boil briskly in fresh water, with occasional stirring, for at least 10 minutes.
    Undercooked beans may be more toxic than raw beans."

    Text is and Link is
    That sounds ambiguous. Undercooked may be more toxic than raw, yet only ten minutes cooking renders them safe? I think by undercooked they just mean not raised to the boiling point for 10 minutes, but I'd just cook 'em and cook 'em!

  5. Money Gal Says:

    Joan is correct. You have to fully cook the kidney beans to avoid the toxin. Undercooked or raw can make you ill. Take the chili out of the slow cooker, put it on the stove, add water and cook to boiling while stirring constantly.

    You should also note that beans should not be cooked with salt in the water (salt or salty stuff like chick broth) because it will keep the beans stiff.

    In future you should use white kidney beans, and soak them and the black beans overnight before throwing them in the slow cooker to create your masterpiece.

  6. patientsaver Says:

    I thought I'd let you know how it turned out. Delicious! And I'm still alive!

    Seriously, I DID soak both the kidney and black beans overnight. When I went down to hopefully eat it, around 8:30 pm, I could see the liquid was simmering away quite vigorously.

    It tastes absolutely great, one of my best chilis ever. It's got a bit more liquid than I usually have, but it's very flavorful, not watery. And I suspect after sitting in the fridge overnight, it will absorb much of that.

    Thanks for all that info about toxins in kidney beans. I'd never heard of that before, but will definitely take note, as I've eaten undercooked beans before. My problem, I think, is that I tend to stray from a given recipe for shortcuts, or if i don't have all the ingredients.

    This time it worked quite well, although it was a decidedly late dinner. I actually wrote down everything I'd done this time becus it came out so well, aside from the bean cooking time. I think the combo of cumin, coriander and oregano also helped.

  7. patientsaver Says:

    Oh, and I DO remember doing a quick check of the online recipe I'd found that used dried beans, to see if they said it was necessary to cook the beans separately. They didn't! If I can find that recipe again, I will make a comment on that point.

    Once you try dried beans, you'll never go back to canned becus they taste so much better, not to mention they're much more economical and you don't ingest more BPA from the lining of the can, either.

  8. Money Gal Says:

    patient, you do not need to cook the beans separate. Red kidney beans are unique and just need to boil to get the toxins out. It is hard to boil in slow cooker since that is not it's function.

    If you use white kidney beans they do not have the same level of toxin, so you do not need to worry about the boiling & can cook in the slow cooker, no problem. If you are doing slow cooker chili, it is safer and easier to use dried white kidney bean + black bean after soaking them over night.

  9. LuckyRobin Says:

    I'm glad you were able to rescue it. I hated thinking you might have to throw it out after all that work.

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