REFRIED BEANS WITH CHEESE AND PORK : Frijoles Puercos
Sinaloa is famous for its wonderful seafood specialties, but I vividly remember the devastatingly rich, unctuous, pork-laden frijoles puercos (literally, “pork beans”) that were served like clockwork at every meal, as if to balance out all that healthy fish. Dark brown and very smooth, frijoles puercos are beans mashed with soft Chihuahua cheese, pork, and more pork in the form of fresh rendered lard (asiento), spicy chorizo, chicharrón (pork skin deepfried in lard), bacon, shredded pork, and goodness knows what else as long as it once went “oink.” Actually, to reframe Mae West’s famous line, goodness has nothing to do with it. Keep the rest of the meal light.
½ cup shredded Carnitas (optional) 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lard or bacon drippings ¼ cup very finely minced white onion 1 slice bacon, finely minced ½ cup pork chorizo, crumbled (about 5 ounces) 3 cups cooked pinto, bayo, or pink beans with their cooking liquid ¾ cup shredded Chihuahua (menonita) or Muenster cheese
¼ cup crumbled chicharrón ⅓ cup sliced pickled jalapeño chiles 1 tablespoon toasted and crumbled guajillo chiles