Cooking and Baking

"Grainy" chili...what went wrong?

I made the mistake of trying a new chili recipe yesterday, and was profoundly disappointed. I used the Cook's Illustrated January 2008 recipe for Simple Turkey Chili with Kidney Beans and it was disappointing on a lot of levels. (Among them, that Cook's Illustrated recipes are usually so dependable.)

Two of the problems have obvious solutions. (It was too watery, and the meat was bland.) But third problem puzzles me. I'd describe the chili as "grainy," for lack of a better word. What I mean is that if you look at a spoonful, you'll see tiny particles suspended in the liquid. The ingredients didn't seem to meld together. (Obviously I'm referring to the liquids and spices, not the turkey meat, onions, tomatoes and beans.) The closest analogy I can think of, is imagine that you've made tea with milk and you add a squeeze of lemon. Suddenly the milk & lemon clots together and the particles are suspended in the liquid. Any idea what would cause this in a chili recipe?

(I don't want to violate copyright rules by posting the recipe, but I'm hoping some of you are familiar with it. It was a different process than chili I've cooked in the past. Onions & seasoning were first sauteed in oil, then meat was added to the mixture and sauteed until very lightly brown. (Obviously not drained after sauteing, since the onions & seasoning were also in the pan.) Diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, drained/rinsed beans and chicken broth were then added and the entire mixture was simmered. After about an hour, another pound of raw ground turkey was added to the mix and cooked for another hour.)

Thanks.

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