I love cooking fresh cranberry beans when I find them at the farmer's market in summer, but I make this dish all year round with dried ones. If using fresh ones, shell them but don't soak them overnight in water, and expect the cooking time to be closer to 45 minutes than 1 ½ hours.
- 1 pound dried cranberry or other medium-size beans, soaked overnight in water to cover
- 4 tablespoons bacon fat or lard
- ½ pound Mexican-style chorizo, squeezed out of casings and chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½-2 teaspoons Mexican chile powder, to taste
- Salt and pepper
Put the beans into a large pot with water to cover. Cover it and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and cook, tightly covered, until the beans are tender but just before the skins begin to split, 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours, depending on the age of the beans.
Melt the bacon fat or lard in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chorizo, onion, garlic, cloves, and chile powder and cook, stirring frequently, for 12–15 minutes or until onion is very soft and begins to caramelize and chorizo is browned. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Drain the beans, then add them to the Dutch oven. Stir well and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.