My Moorish Pork Chops

When the Moors invaded Spain they brought grapes and dried fruits with them. Their love of mixing dried fruits with meats definitely left its mark on Spanish cooking and this is my nod to that time in Spain's history. Cut into these big tender chops and you'll get sweet juicy flavours inside perfectly cooked meat. Go to a good butcher and ask for chops that are 2.5cm thick, ideally with two different colours of meat on them: the sweet darker meat, and the leaner eye meat. Then head to any good food store for the jarred beans. Spanish beans are like the Bentley of beans, so although they cost a bit more than the tinned ones they make all the difference.

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Photo: My Moorish Pork Chops

TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 16 min
Prep: 30 min
Inactive Prep: 1 min
Cook: 45 min
 
YIELD: 4 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • For the chops
  • A few sprigs fresh oregano or marjoram, leaves picked
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A small handful raisins
  • Good quality dry sherry
  • Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large, thick pork chops (approximately 12 ounces/350 g each), bone in, the best quality
  • meat you can afford
  • For the beans
  • Trimmed fat from a few slices of pata negra (cured ham), and some pata negra offcuts
  • (or 2 rashers smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped, or pancetta)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • A few sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • A few fresh bay leaves
  • 1 (19-ounce/540 g) jar white beans or butter beans, drained
  • 14 ounces/400 g Swiss chard, stalks trimmed, or spinach leaves
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Directions

To make the chops:
Pound most of your oregano leaves with a small pinch of salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar.

Roughly chop the raisins, then add them to the pestle and mortar with a splash or 2 of sherry and a splash of extra-virgin olive oil. Muddle everything together to make a paste, then put to one side for a minute.

Lay each pork chop in front of you so the side with the fat is farthest away. Carefully insert a knife into the side nearest you and move it around to make a pocket inside. Use your fingers to fill each pocket with the raisin paste. Cook's Note: To see what I mean, go to http://www.jamieoliver.com/how-to.

To make the beans:
Fry the strips of fat from your pata negra or bacon in a medium pan on a high heat for a few minutes, then add the offcuts (or bacon) and a drizzle of olive oil. Stir in the chopped onion and pepper, then turn the heat down and cook for about 5 more minutes, or until the vegetables have softened.

Roughly chop your rosemary leaves and add those to the pan along with your bay leaves.

Add the beans to the pan with 1 1/2 cups/350 ml water. Stir, then leave to tick away for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the beans and add a splash more water if they look dry.

Get a barbecue or griddle pan really hot.

Rub some olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper all over the pork chops. Put them on the very hot side of your barbecue and sear them for 2 to 3 minutes on each side to get some good colour going, then move them to the gentler side of the barbecue so they can cook slowly. If you're using a griddle pan, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for a further 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Meanwhile, finely chop the stalks of the Swiss chard and add them to the pan with the beans. Roughly chop the leaves and add them to the pan for the last minute or 2 of cooking so as not to lose the flavour. Taste the beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes if you want to achieve a thicker consistency.

Divide the beans evenly among 4 plates and lay a pork chop over each. Sprinkle over the reserved oregano leaves, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

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  • on October 24, 2013

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    Absolutely delicious! Sometimes I make a quick cassoulet for dinner by browning some sausage and using it in the bean portion of the recipe only. We actually prefer small white beans to the butter beans. This dish is brilliant and quick!! We need to see more of Jamie

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  • on February 14, 2012

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    Great dish. Made it three times in the past six months. Even choose it as my Valentine's dinner. Follow the recipe exactly. My only tip would be to go easy on the herbs. There are many great flavors in the meal so limit herbs to 3 sprigs of rosemary, 3-4 springs of oregano and up to 3 fresh bay leaves. These are very aromatic herbs and they will overcome the rest of the dish. Also, don't supplement with white kidney beans, as they fall apart and you'll end up with a mushy base.

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