Baked Beans

I got a crock pot from my friend Krystal for my first bridal shower and I couldn't wait to use it. When my future sister-in-law, Kim, gave us a recipe for baked beans, I saw it as my chance to finally take the crock pot out of the box and use it! The original recipe she gave us had multiple ways of making the beans. I'll just give you the way I made them.

1 pound Dry Red Kidney Beans
2 quarts Water
1 Large Yellow Onion, cut in eighths
1 Bay Leaf
6 Whole Black Peppercorns
3/4 cup Medium Amber Pure Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup Ketchup
1 tablespoon Chinese Chili Paste (I used sriracha sauce)
1 tablespoon Grated Fresh Ginger
1 teaspoon Salt
5 ounces Thick-Cut Smoked Bacon, cubed
*I also added 1/2 pound Dry Pinto Beans and a can of red beans I had in the pantry, so I 1.5X the recipe for the sauce

Place the dry beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let the beans sit overnight and then drain and rinse the beans.

Place the beans in a large pot with 2 quarts of water. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns, and onion. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 50 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and peppercorns. Drain the beans & onions and reserve the cooking liquid.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, ketchup, chili paste, ginger, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer and then cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

Place the cubed bacon in a frying pan and fry until cooked through. Place on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain any excess grease.

Transfer the beans & onions to a crock pot and cover with the syrup mixture. (This is when I added the random can of red beans I had). Add the cooked bacon. Stir together and cook on low for 3-4 hours.