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Cooking the Book: Black Bean Chili

2012 January 24

Well, it was bound to happen eventually.

Recipe FAIL.

I knew there was no way I was going to love every single recipe in this entire cookbook. I knew there would be some I (or Mr. Kitchenette, or both of us) wouldn’t like. I guess I just didn’t expect it to happen so soon, especially not with one so simple or that I was looking forward to so much. Or for my dislike to be so…. strong. I mean, this one was a Total Yuck (sorry, editors at America’s Test Kitchen….).

It looked pretty and it smelled good, but that’s pretty much all I can say in The Good category for this one. Oh, it also had a nice heat to it.

On to The Bad: Even after two-plus hours of cooking, the beans were still…. a little tough? toothsome? not cooked all the way through? How ever you want to put it, it wasn’t good. They weren’t crunchy or anything, but it wasn’t good. There was also some kind of unidentifiable metallic-ish bittnerness lurking under the heat that started off subtle but then just got gross. I really don’t know what it was, but it also wasn’t good.

There were a few odd ingredients in this one, such as pulverized mushrooms, a wee bit of baking soda (which the book says “helped to keep the acidity of our chili under control and ensured that our beans stayed dark and didn’t turn gray or drab.”) and mustard seeds (or dry mustard). It could also have been my own fault: perhaps I could have picked a better tomato sauce to stir in halfway through its time in the oven (yeah, that was also a little odd to me, but it seemed to be working okay) or maybe my chili powder was old or there was something off about my vegetable broth. I don’t know. It might have just been the day, which was a rough one on the cooking front: Mr. Kitchenette’s cornbread muffins also fell flat (literally) and yucky with the added Yuck of a bit of scorch on the bottom.

Even the amount was a little bit off — not enough, for a change, though we were reaching for more out of sheer hunger at 8 p.m. last week, not deliciousness.

If you’ve made this recipe, let me know how it’s worked out for you. I’m curious.

In the mean time, I’ll be working on my own (vegetarian) black bean chili to share with you here soon.

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