Using the pot you’re going to cook the beans in, sauté some onion and garlic (celery and carrot too, if you like) in olive oil or lard until soft.
Add the beans and their soaking water, making sure the beans are covered by 2 inches of water. Stir and bring to a hard boil.
Boil the beans for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
When you start to smell the beans along with the aromatics, you’ll know that the beans are about three-quarters of the way done. Add salt to the pot (about 1 rounded tablespoon per pound of beans) and cook for about 30 minutes more.
To test if the beans are done, skim a few out with a slotted spoon and blow on them: If the skins wrinkle, they’re done.
This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food