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.
Nutritional Information (amount per serving)
Serves 4 Approx time: 60 Difficulty: not too tricky
For The Beans
MethodPound 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 two 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.
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 your beans to the pan with 350ml of 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 two 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 between four plates and lay a pork chop over each. Sprinkle over the reserved oregano leaves, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.