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Frijoles Negros a la Oaxaca

2 pounds black beans -- * see note
12 cups water
2 garlic cloves -- chopped
1 onion -- chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ham hocks -- ** see note

This dish takes about 10 hours to prepare, so plan ahead.
* Dried pinto beans can be used, but the recipe will lose its authenticity.
** Use about 1-2 pounds of meaty ham hocks.
Pick over beans, wash thoroughly and drain. Place in very large casserole. Cover with the water; add garlic, cumin, onion, salt, pepper and ham hocks. Cover tightly and bake at 275 degrees for about 10 hours, or until beans are tender. Check and stir a few times, keeping beans from drying out. Skim off fat before serving. Season to taste.
NOTES : A popular, delicious dish native to Oaxaca, Mexico.

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