Preparation / Directions:
Sort through the beans and discard any misshapen beans or stones. Rinse well. Place the beans in a saucepan and add the water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the smallest beans are cooked through and creamy inside, about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the beans from the heat. Using a potato masher, mash the beans with their cooking liquid until evenly mashed.
In a saut‚ pan over medium heat, warm the lard or oil. Add all but about 1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz/38 g) of the diced onion, salt to taste and pepper and saut‚ briskly until the onion is translucent and just begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the mashed beans and cook, stirring, until the excess liquid evaporates and the beans begin to pull away from the pan sides, about 10 minutes. Cook without stirring until a thin layer of the mashed beans begins to stick to the pan bottom. Scrape up the layer and reincorporate it into the beans. Repeat this step 2 or 3 times, allowing the beans to begin to stick and then scraping them up, until the beans are thick and creamy.
To serve, spoon the beans onto a warmed platter or individual plates and top with the reserved diced onion. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve hot. Store leftover beans, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, return the beans to a wide saut‚ pan, add a little water and place over medium heat, stirring constantly to heat evenly.
Makes 3-4 cups (24-32 fl oz/750 ml-1 l); Preparation Time: 2 hours 20 minutes