Pick through dry beans for any rocks or debris. Cover beans with 2 inches of water in a stock pot. Add a quarter onion (save remaining for other use), dried chili and crushed garlic.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Remove and discard the onion, chili and garlic. You should have about 5 cups of cooked beans.
In a large skillet over high heat melt the lard.
Drain beans, reserving about a cup of the bean water. Add the beans to the skillet. Fry for several minutes, stirring.
Mash with the back of a spoon or potato masher. Add enough bean broth and continue mashing until your desired consistency. I like mine a little chunky and never purée in a food process. If you do, then by all means do it.
Season with some salt and black pepper if needed. Serve with crumbled Cotija or Queso Fresco cheese on top.
I also enjoy the pinquinto beans if can find them. Rancho Gordo is the brand. They are small than pinto beans and creamier when mashed I feel. This recipe makes six cups cooked beans, drained. If each serving is 1/2 cup it can feed 12 as a side dish. Although serving sizes vary per person!
We are actually frying the beans and my little secret and why I really don't add much salt at all to my beans is that I use bacon fat that I save. That stuff is liquid gold people. Save it! It delivers a wonderful level of flavor to the beans. BUT if you don't like or eat bacon then use regular lard.