Updated Wednesday, February 6th, 2013
All the goodness of seasoned, simmered old-fashioned New England baked beans, without the salt pork plus the added convenience of the slow cooker! Both bean traditionalists and vegetarians will gobble these up.
Want more? Check out the blog that goes along with this recipe.
The night before, pick through the beans to remove any stones, then place in a bowl and cover with enough water to cover the beans by two inches. Soak overnight.
In the morning, mix together all ingredients except the beans, onion, and cloves in a large bowl.
In the bottom of minimum 4-quart slow cooker, layer the diced onion, then add the beans*.
Pour the liquid mixture over the beans, then add up to an additional 3 cups of water until the tops of the beans are just submerged.
For extra flavor, take the reserved onion end and press 8 cloves into it in a circle. I used a skewer to make the holes before inserting the cloves. (I also used more than 8 cloves, which I think overpowered the beans a bit, so in the future I will be using less!) Place the onion end into the center of the beans. Remove before eating.
Cook the beans on high for 6-8 hours, or on low for 8-10 hours. I left mine in the pot on low for around 12 hours (it was a long day), and as you might expect, they taste better the longer they sit.
If the beans will be in the slow cooker for less than 8 hours, parboil them first for 30 minutes before adding them. If the cook time will be longer than 8 hours, there is no need to parboil.
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