About the beans. Click here to read my article, The Science of Beans, for tips on working with beans and equivalents for dry, canned, and cooked beans. Decide which you will use. If you plan to use dried beans, follow the instructions there for preparing them.Leftovers. If you have leftovers, smush them up completely. Throw some bacon grease or other fat into a frying pan, cast iron preferably, and when it's hot, add the beans and stir frequently until they are the thickness you prefer. Them's refried beans, partner (in Spanish the prefix "re-" means "well", so "frijoles refritos" means "beans well fried", not "beans fried again").
Prep. Chop the bacon. Chop the onion. Press or mince the garlic cloves.
Fry. Heat a Dutch oven or a heavy pot with a medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until it starts to brown and the fat starts to melt. Add the onion and cook until limp. Add the pressed garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and black pepper and cook about 2 minutes.
Simmer. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and the beans. Bring to a boil for about a minute and back the heat down to a simmer. Scrape any bits off the bottom. Stir gently. Simmer about 3 hours with the lid on, stirring every 15 to 30 minutes to make sure things don't stick to the bottom.
Adjust. Some folks serve their beans after most of the liquid has been absorbed, others like it more like a thick soup, and some folks like it thinner. You can add water to thin it or smash a few beans if you want to thicken it. Or you can take the lid off and simmer them lid off for about 30 minutes. Your call. Add cumin, salt, and pepper if you think it needs it.
Serve. Just before serving remove the bay leaves and add the chopped jalapeño. The reason we wait til the end to add the chile is so its flavor and heat will remain intact and add crunchy little bursts when you eat.