Black Beans with Piloncillo and Cumin

This is an easy way to experience the deep molasses-like flavor of piloncillo. This dish can be made several days ahead and can be frozen.

Yields 6-8 servings

1 pound dry black beans

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups chicken or vegetable stock (choose low salt stock if you are using store-bought)

2 onions, peeled and diced

6 ounces piloncillo (the small piloncillo cones weigh 1 ounce) 

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chile powder

1 jalapeno, minced (remove the seeds for a milder heat)

Additional salt to taste

Pick through your beans to remove any stones and clumps of dirt.  Rinse them well. Put the beans in a 2-3 quart saucepan and add the salt and stock.  

Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat so the beans simmer. Simmer until the beans become tender, adding water if needed to keep the beans submerged.  Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer under the sugar is dissolved and most of the liquid has been absorbed. The beans should be stewy but not swimming in liquid.  Taste and add salt to taste if needed.