Smoky Southwestern Beans

You can enjoy these beans straight out of the pot, or save and prepare them refried-style later.

Ingredients:
2 cups dried beans, such as Mayocoba, Pinto, black or other bean of your choosing
1 small onion
2-3 tablespoons bacon drippings (or butter or lard)
1-2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
2-3 quarts water
Pinch of Mexican oregano (optional)

Method:
1. Sort through the beans and discard any rocks or shriveled beans. Rinse and drain well.

2. Add beans to a pot and cover with 2-3 quarts of water, or so the water level is 2 inches above the beans. Add the roughly chopped onion and 2-3 tablespoons of bacon drippings (or butter or lard).

3. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover. Let simmer for 1½-2 hours. Ensure that the water level is well above the beans by adding more water as they cook if necessary.

4. Start tasting them after 1½ hours. If they are hard or grainy they need a little more time. Once cooked add 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of Mexican oregano and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Give a final taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Either serve immediately, or store for future use.

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