|1/2 pound bacon, chopped
1 large while onion, chopped
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano*
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 cups dried pinto beans, picked over, soaked in cold water at least 4 hours and up to 12, and drained
1 1/2 quarts water plus additional if necessary
1/2 cup sliced pickled jalapeno chiles, coarsely chopped
a 12-ounce bottle dark Mexican beer such as Negra Modelo or Dos Equis
2 teaspoons salt plus 1/2 teaspoon if necessary
* available at Mexican markets and some specialty produce markets.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
In a 6-to 7-quart oven proof kettle cook bacon, onion, oregano, and garlic over moderately high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until onion is browned lightly. Add beans, water, jalapeno, and beer and bring to a boil. Bake mixture, covered, in middle of oven until beans are soft, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Add additional water if beans begin to dry out. Mixture should be soupy with beans very soft but not falling apart.)
Stir in 2 teaspoons salt and bake beans 10 minutes more. Check seasoning, adding remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt if necessary. (Beans may be made 2 days ahead, cooled, uncovered, and chilled, covered.)
Note: Can also prepare beans in pan as above - after they come to a boil turn off heat. Put beans in crock pot, cover and cook on high 6-8 hours or overnight. If too liquidy for what you want, turn to low heat and keep simmering. Beans are supposed to be a little "soupy".