A question about a recipe: Slightly Smoky Mixed-Bean Chili

I have a question about the recipe "Slightly Smoky Mixed-Bean Chili" from creamtea. Will this work in a slow cooker?

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  • Posted by: Luciemom
  • December 29, 2012
Slightly Smoky Mixed-Bean Chili
Recipe question for: Slightly Smoky Mixed-Bean Chili


trampledbygeese December 29, 2012
Thanks for the link about beans. I only ever cook lentils from dry, never tried other beans before. I hate to admit it, but beans are one of the few foods I use from a can - I always think of them as last minute, something to serve guests, open tin, add onions, leftovers, and curry, then cook in the Dutch oven or slow cooker. That way I don't have to worry about timing, just get it up to temp quickly, cook it through, then turn it down and not worry about it until it's time to eat, whenever that is. It's really neat to learn about cooking with dry beans, and I'm eager to try it. Thanks for the safety tips.

I understood the recipe that the OP was asking about was using beans that had already been soaked and boiled first during the 'for pre-cooking the beans' stage. Would there still be a safety concern doing it this way?

The slow cooking would only be for the second half of the recipe, the 'for chilli' part.

Generally, when working with un-cooked ingredients in a slow cooker, it is best to cook on high for 1 to 4 hours (depending on cooker and volume of the food) which (if your cooker is working correctly) will bring it to a moderate to full boil. Then turn it down to low to cook the remaining time. Many modern slow cookers now have an 'auto' setting that (depending again on the cooker) will turn it down for you depending on time, or on temperature.
ChefOno December 29, 2012

No offense taken but… Because a slow cooker may reach the boiling point, that does not mean it will, or that it will do so before the rest of the dish is cooked. Relying on the appliance to properly deactivate the poison(s), especially without knowledge and consideration of the issue, is not good food safety practice. The USDA and other food safety organizations have documented numerous cases of slow-cooker bean poisoning so we know for a fact they don't always get the job done. Consumers need to be aware of the issue and how to alleviate it.

As for where this information comes from, this would be well worth five minutes of any cook's time:

As far as I know, black beans aren't highly toxic. Ditto green beans. Red kidney beans are the worst but other varieties of the same species are to varying degrees. Broad (fava), lima (butter) and soy beans are also poisonous. It's not just phytohemagglutinins at fault either, beans can carry protease inhibitors and cyanogens which, when mixed with the plant's enzymes by chewing, release potentially deadly hydrogen cyanide.

Jenny C. March 6, 2014
Your FDA link give a "page not found" error...
Martin E. December 29, 2012
No offense meant to ChefOno, but slow cookers do get hot enough to destroy the bean toxins. The language on the web that says this isn't the case is almost all identical,leading me to think that everyone is getting the idea from the same place. Slow cookers boil food, if set on their higher settings. There is nothing about the speed of coming to a boil that affects the breakdown of the toxins--they don't "acclimate" if heated slowly. Sticking these beans in a slow cooker all day while you're at work will be just fine. And, at the risk of relying on anecdotal evidence, I've been eating black beans out of a slow cooker my whole life and have never encountered a problem.
ChefOno December 29, 2012

Yes but… You should not rely on a slow cooker to reach a high enough temperature to properly deactivate the toxins in the beans. Even if yours will eventually, it's best to boil beans for 10 minutes during the first stage of cooking when they're still firm and won't break apart and turn to mush.

trampledbygeese December 29, 2012
I think this would taste really good in a slow cooker.

Saute the onions, garlic, spices in a separate pan as instructed, then add everything to your slow cooker. About 2 to 4 hours on high or (optional - 1 hour on high to heat everything through and get the flavours going and) up to 10 hours on low. If you can, it would probably be a good idea to stir once or twice during the cooking process to prevent the surface from drying out. If you need to cook it more than 10 hours, you may need t add more moisture to the recipe.
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