In my last post, I mentioned my frustration at the length of time it took to cook legumes from dried (soaked) in my slow-cooker. I’ve done some testing, and found a method that seems to work well.
I did a bit of Googling to see if other people had the same problem…
I should have known it was an “issue” when I saw so few recipes that started with dried beans. I found a range of possible causes, such as old beans, too much salt, and too much acid.
That last one rang a bell for me – too much acid. Of the beany dishes I had made so far, the ones that resulted in tough beans contained TOMATOES. The ones that cooked perfectly did not.
I formulated a test to confirm my theory… a reworking of the chili dish that didn’t cook as expected, full of tomatoes and spices and beans. The difference would not be in the ingredients, but in the process. I started by cooking the legumes in *some* of the ingredients and some broth… and added the tomatoes in later.
Unfortunately, this is (again) not a dish that can be done start-to-finish on a weeknight, as it would take at least 9 hours if you cook it as intended – and you have to be there to add the ingredients after 3. Being the mindful person that I am, I have included some alternative instructions for those of you starting with a cooked legume. You can always start it the night before, just to cook the beans, put it in the fridge overnight and resume cooking the next day.
A quick note… Be careful about cooking legumes from dried/soaked, using too low of a temperature may not kill the toxin described in this article on the FDA website. Using the slow-cooker on low may not be enough.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 -2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups dried legumes, soaked overnight (or 4 cups cooked)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2-4 cups broth (can use water) – just enough to cover
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon ground ancho chile (or another mild chile pepper)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (can also use ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 – 1tablespoon canned chipotles in adobo, chopped or puréed – optional
- 28oz canned tomatoes, with juices
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
Note: if you are using pre-cooked or canned beans, omit the broth and skip steps 2 and 3.
- Add onion, celery, garlic, olive oil, soaked beans and bay leaves to the slow-cooker.
- Add enough broth to fully cover the beans.
- Cover, and cook on the slow-cooker on high for 3 hours.
- When the beans have finished, add the carrots, corn, spices, canned chipotles and tomatoes to the slow-cooker.
- Cover, and cook in the slow-cooker on high for 6 hours.
- In the last hour, add bell pepper. If the chili hasn’t thickened enough, you can take the lid off to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
- Taste, and adjust the seasoning as needed.