If using dried beans, place the soaked beans in a large heavy pot with
In a heavy skillet, heat the drippings, lard, or oil over medium heat. Add the optional bacon, the garlic, and onions and cook until very soft, about 12 minutes. Stir in the cumin, the optional oregano, and the salt, then transfer this sofrito to the pot of beans.
Place the beans over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add more water if necessary to prevent sticking. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve hot over plain white rice.
You can include bell peppers if you wish. Add 2 to 3 diced bell peppers (an assortment of colors is more interesting) to the bacon and onion sofrito.
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