Recipe: Vegetarian Baked Beans*
Heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pot over medium heat, then add one large chopped onion. Stir often until onions are almost caramelized, about 15 minutes (longer if you want more sweetness, less if you want less sweetness).
Add about 2 cups of beans (if you start with dry beans, they should be soaked and pre-cooked**, otherwise you can use canned beans). Many types of beans will work: red chili beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, etc.
Add about 1/2 cup of maple syrup and about 1/2 cup of water and raise heat. Add 1/4 cup apple butter (or some other kind of non-berry preserve or chutney, such as apricot). Simmer for a few minutes. If you want to thicken up the sauce, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a couple tablespoons of water, then add to pot and simmer until sauce thickens. Salt to taste.
*This recipe is very loosely adapted from Mark Bittman's Baked Beans, found in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.
**I like to use dry beans from Caygua Pure Organics. I process them in large batches: soak them overnight, then simmer them in water u
ntil tender (usually about an hour, depending on the type of beans), then I freeze them in small batches until I need them.
PS. Don't walk away from the pot for too long, otherwise you might have "smokey" beans: