(Sopa de Frijol)

1 cup dry black beans
2 quarts cold water
4 tablespoons lard or oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon chile pequín, crumbled
1 tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup dry sherry

Wash the beans but do not soak them. Place in a large saucepan with the water; cover and cook gently until almost tender. Heat the oil or lard in a skillet; add the onion, garlic, and chile. When the onion is tender but not browned, stir in the tomato. Combine this mixture with the beans, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered, until the beans are very tender. Push the beans through a sieve or puree them in an electric blender. Return to the saucepan; simmer a few minutes longer; stir in the sherry and serve.

Soup may be accompanied by tortillas cut into fourths and fried crisp, crumbled fresh cheese, or a slice of lime. Serves 6.