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Pork Chops with Cranberry Beans and Thyme

Perfect for an autumn supper, this hearty dish combines pancetta-wrapped pork chops with fresh shell beans, which can be found at farmers’ markets. Fresh beans cook more quickly than dried ones and require no presoaking. Almost any variety will work here, from flageolet or Jacob’s cattle to lima. Or, try borlotti or cannellini beans, and use sage in place of the thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 4 pork chops, each 8 oz. (250 g) and 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • 4 pancetta or bacon slices
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 Tbs. (2 fl. oz./60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for
      drizzling
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cups (24 fl. oz./750 ml) chicken stock
  • 2 cups (14 oz./440 g) shelled fresh cranberry beans
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup (3/4 oz./20 g) coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Working with 1 pork chop at a time, wrap a pancetta slice around the outer edge of each chop. Secure with a toothpick, season the chop with salt and pepper, and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the garlic and shallot and sauté until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the cranberry beans and thyme and simmer until the beans burst, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and mustard, and season well with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the burner to keep warm.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil until shimmering. Add the pork chops and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown on both sides and the pancetta is crispy, 4 to 6 minutes per side. If the chops are browning too fast, reduce the heat to medium.

Divide the warm beans among individual plates, top each portion with a pork chop and sprinkle with the parsley. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends, by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm (Oxmoor House, 2008).