Vegetarian Maple Baked Beans

Adapted via Yankee Magazine
Serves: 8 to 10

♦ 1 lb. dried kidney beans (white or red)
♦ 1 large onion, finely diced (I got 1 3/4 cups)
♦ 1 cup water
♦ 1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
♦ 1/4 cup maple syrup
♦ 1/4 cup molasses
♦ 4 tbsp brown sugar
♦ 1 tbsp cider vinegar
♦ 2 tsp liquid smoke
♦ 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
♦ 1 tsp ground mustard
♦ 1/4 tsp pepper
♦ 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
♦ 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
♦ 1/8 ground cloves

Place the beans into a large colander, rinsing thoroughly to remove any stones. Place the beans in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover them by two inches; soak overnight, then drain and rinse the beans using a colander (if soaking for less than 8 hours, parboil the beans in clean water for 30 minutes).

Whisk all of the ingredients together (minus the beans and diced onion) in a large bowl, and set aside. Combine the diced onion and beans into your slow cooker (should be at least 4 quarts); pour the liquid mixture over the beans, and add just enough water to submerge the beans.

Cook the beans on high for 6 to 8 hours, or on low for 8 to 10. Beans can be made several days ahead of time and refrigerated, and can be frozen for up to a month (the flavor will intensify with time, so making them at least a day ahead is highly recommended!)

To read more about this dish and my musical pairing, click HERE.

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