Don’t Try This At Home
You know how sometimes you make a recipe and it’s really good and you just can’t wait to make it again but this time you’ll add “x”? X being some ingredient that you know will make the recipe better / healthier / cheaper / more of a complete meal / whatever. Yeah, some of us should not be allowed to do that.
Labor Day weekend I made this recipe. I served it to the Scrabble Couple and Cuz’n and it was delicious! I added a package of cooked ground turkey like one of the commenters had to make it a little more filling. I forgot to add the garlic and the cheddar cheese, but that was completely by accident. So we just used the cheese as garnish. Oh, and I used half of a good sized onion instead of a whole onion, but I oftentimes cut the onion in half in recipes since too much of it does not agree with me. Anyway, my point being that I did not deliberately change the recipe in any way except to add the turkey and reduce the onion. This chili was so good that everyone went back for seconds. And then there were some negotiations over the paltry leftovers. I sent some home with Scrabble Wife, but I had just kicked butt in Scrabble and I was feeling generous. Had I lost, who knows what would have happened?
Still on a high from last week’s chili, I decided I needed more. And what better time to use the crockpot but on a football Sunday while I’m at the game? Just thinking of coming home to yummy chili after a full day of watching the Ravens kick some butt warmed the cockles of my heart.
Just what are heart cockles anyway?
Here is where my story takes a turn for the worse. Instead of using canned white beans, I decide to be frugal and use a half package of dried pinto beans. Not being a complete novice, I did remember to soak the beans the night before. And then I brought them to a boil this morning for good measure. Because as a child I almost killed my sister with dried beans.
How I Almost Killed My Sister Using Dried Beans
In middle school we had home economics class. Living in progressive Maryland at the time, all kids had to take home ec. Boys, girls, jocks, geeks, we were all learning how to make a patchwork pillow and taco salad. Just not at the same time.
I was very taken with the taco salad. At the time I don’t think my family had moved much beyond the meat and potatoes that my Dad enjoyed. Taco salad just seemed like such an exotic novelty! Those spices… the fact that your meal was a salad! Crazy stuff.
So of course I volunteered to make some for the family. Mom was not present for the cooking of the taco salad. And when I couldn’t find a can of kidney beans, but did find a package of dried kidney beans, I just added that to the skillet with the beef and the taco seasoning.
I probably don’t need to elaborate much beyond that.
Needless to say, I scarred my sister for life. She still will not eat beans. And I feel vaguely guilty about this.
Not to mention that now we all know that red beans have toxins if not properly cooked. At the time I thought my sister was over-reacting a little. But who knows, maybe I did poison her. Just not deliberately. Sorry Sis!
And PS, this still does not make up for the fact that you rubbed the cat on my pillow knowing I was allergic. I poisoned you by accident, dang it!
Back to our regularly scheduled story:
I come home from the game. The chili smells wonderful. I take a sample and the beans are still undercooked. I boost the slowcooker to High and wait.
Three hours later and the beans are still undercooked. So I pull out a slow cooking cookbook and do some research.
Guess what I learned?
1. They recommend that you cook presoaked dried beans on High. I had that recipe on Low all the ding dang day long.
2. Adding salt prevents the beans from cooking properly. (I knew this, but forgot it while putting together the recipe this morning. Doh!)
3. Older dried beans take longer to cook. They recommend discarding any dried beans purchased more than 2 years ago. (I can’t remember exactly when I got those pinto beans, but I know it’s been a little while. Which is part of the reason I was hoping to use them up!)
I tried a small bowl of the chili and now I’m awake at 2am with a bloated stomach. I’m thinking it’s the beans and not the bourbon from this morning’s tailgate.
The idea of throwing away a whole vat of chili contradicts every single frugal fiber of my being. But I’m not sure if I can see an alternative. Any ideas internets?
And Sister, I’m really really sorry. Please find it in your heart to forgive me. And give beans a chance. That’s all we are saying. Just give beans a chance…