Sweet and savory Boston baked beans are a healthy winter classic that lend themselves perfectly to long, leisurely cooking in an electric slow cooker.
Some say early Colonial Americans learned to cook beans from their indigenous neighbors, who combined maple syrup, beans and bear fat and cooked it for hours in pits filled with hot rocks. The colonists started baking the recipe in brick ovens or on the hearth over an open fire. Today, Boston Baked Beans lend themselves perfectly to long, leisurely cooking in an electric slow cooker. The addition of bacon or pork is entirely optional.
2 cups dried white beans, thoroughly rinsed
4 cups water
2 cups apple cider or hard apple cider
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch ground ginger
2 strips lean, hickory-smoked bacon or smoked pork chop (optional)
Salt to taste
1. Rinse and sort through beans. Place in the slow cooker and add 4 cups water. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until just tender.
2. Add cider, onion, molasses, maple syrup, dry mustard, cloves and ginger. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until beans are very tender but not mushy.
3. If you're using bacon or smoked pork, add it two hours before serving.
4. Salt to taste just before serving. Serves 6 to 8
For more slow cooker recipes inspired by early American history, read the original article, 3 Colonial Recipes for the Slow Cooker.