I haven’t tried too many innovative uses for my Crockpot. Fudgey chocolate cakes have been born there, as well as apple cobbler. Nothing extraordinary. Until….Sandra Lee intrigued me last week by baking a slow-cooker cheesecake!!! “Hmm,” I thought, “Gotta try that!” Unfortunately, if you were looking for a new slow-cooker cheesecake post, today isn’t your lucky day. However, if you’re looking to save lots of time making baked beans, you’ve found the right place!
My only “official” cookbook, Barefoot Contessa at Home has some fabulous recipes. Be that as it may, I’m not one to pour over technique or ingredients, be precise in measurements, or limit my creativity. I like Ina’s ideas, but I love my own variations. Home cooking with love isn’t as loving if it doesn’t have a personal tweak. Here’s my variation of Ina’s Maple Baked Beans.
Crockpot Baked Beans
2 cups dry red beans of any variety Sometimes I throw in peas for additional vitamins
1 medium onion, diced
2 t. pepper
1 bay leaf
1/2 c. maple syrup or imitation m.s.
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
1 T. Chinese chili paste, I use green
1 T. fresh grated ginger
1 t. salt
Soak beans 8 hours or overnight. Cook them according to directions on bag in a pot or even better, in a pressure cooker. No salt! Strain, keeping 2 cups of cooking liquid.
When beans are done, place them in a slow-cooker along with all of the other ingredients and about 1 1/2 cups of cooking liquid. Turn on low and cook for a minimum of 2 hours. If beans look dry at any time, add more cooking liquid. Do a taste test halfway through cooking to adjust seasonings, if necessary.