1 teaspoon lard or vegetable oil
4 slices bacon, minced
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup thinly sliced, peeled carrots
1 jalapeno chile, minced
8 ounces ham, diced
6 cups drained cooked pinto beans and 4 cups bean cooking liquid
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground dried Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (12-ounce) bottle or can Mexican beer (optional)
In a skillet, heat the lard over medium-high heat. Add the bacon, onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft. Add the chile and ham and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Place the beans and cooking liquid in a soup pot. Using an immersion blender or a potato masher, break up some of the beans to create a thick, chunky-textured soup. Add the cooked ham mixture, including some or all of the fat in the pan, and stir well. Then stir in the salt, oregano, and cumin. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Add either water or beer as needed to achieve a good soup consistency. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately.
bacon recipe source: Texas Eats: The New Lone Star Heritage Cookbook by Robb Walsh (Ten Speed Press, 2012)