In Mexico, frijoles are served either soupy in broth or mashed and fried. This mouthwatering recipe, with pinto beans and salt pork, features both versions.

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  • 2 1/2  teaspoons 
  • 1   pound 
    dry pinto beans
  • 1   tablespoon 
    olive oil
  • 1/4  pound 
    salt pork, rind removed, or sliced bacon, finely chopped
  • 1   cup 
    chopped onions
  • 1   
    serrano or jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1   tablespoon 
    finely chopped garlic
  • 6   cups 
  • 1/4  teaspoon 
    cumin seed
Soak beans according to package directions; drain.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add salt pork; cook 2 minutes, until browned. Reduce heat to medium; add onions and chile and cook 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add drained beans, water and cumin seed. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add salt and continue to cook 25 to 35 minutes more, until tender. (Can be made ahead. Cool. Transfer to large microwaveproof container. Cover and refrigerate overnight. To reheat: Microwave on High 10 minutes, stirring once after 5 minutes, until heated through.)
  • Per 1-3/4-cup serving for Frijoles: 460 calories, 20 g total fat, 6.5 g saturated fat, 17 mg cholesterol, 1,337 mg sodium, 55 g carbohydrates, 18 g protein, 110 mg calcium, 10 g fiber
  • Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos): Prepare beans as directed through step 2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil or lard in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and cook 2 to 3 minutes, until browned. Add 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic and cook 30 seconds. Add 2 cups cooked beans and 1/3 to 1/2 cup bean liquid to skillet. (Or, microwave 2 cups refrigerated beans and 1/3 to 1/2 cup bean liquid on High, 2 to 3 minutes, until room temperature, and add to skillet.) Mash beans and liquid coarsely with back of wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more, until heated through, adding more bean liquid or water if needed. Transfer beans to a food processor. Process just until smooth. Makes 2 cups (4 servings).
  • Per 1/2-cup serving for Refried Beans: 225 calories, 11 g total fat, 3 g saturated fat, 7 mg cholesterol, 536 mg sodium, 24 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 51 mg calcium, 5 g fiber
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