Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Spanish Pork Chops



I'm on a mission to save the apples on our apple trees from the Rainbow Lorikeets. The fruit is nearly perfect for picking and the Lorikeets have an uncanny knack of knowing when we're just about to pick the fruit. They start to nibble at the apples about a week or so before they are ripe enough to pick. So, today I have been standing at my kitchen window and every time the birds land, I run outside waving my tea towel, apron, the kids jumpers or whatever I manage to grab on the way out and wave it around my head shouting and making bird-scaring noises (use your imagination!). It's been pretty effective so far, but I girl can really work up an appetite with all that running and shouting. As I've had my mind on apples a lot lately, it's logical that my thoughts would start to roam in the direction of pork chops. While my apples aren't quite ripe enough to be picked and baked with the chops (assuming that we'll wrestle enough off the Lorikeets to do just that), these beans are an excellent accompaniment. 

Hopefully there'll be some blog posts describing all manner of appley creations before too long, but I think I've got quite a bit more running and shouting to do between now and then.

Spanish Pork Chops
from Jamie Oliver's Jamie Does...

For the chops:
a few sprigs of fresh oregano leaves picked
sea salt and freshly groundblack pepper
a small handful of raisins
good quality dry sherry
Spanish extra virgin olive oil
4 large, thick pork chops (approximately 350g each)

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C.

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 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 porkchop in front of you. Carefully insert a knife into the thickest part of the meat and move it around to make a pocket inside. Use your fingers to fill each pocket with the raisin paste. 

Get an oven-proof  griddle pan really hot. Rub some olive oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper all over the pork chops. Put the chops in the pan and cook on each side for a couple of minutes until you have some brown bar marks. Put the griddle pan in the oven and continue to  cook for a further about 6 minutes minutes, or until cooked through.

For the Beans:
a few slices of  pancetta, chopped
olive oil
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
a few fresh bay leaves
2 x 400g cans of cannellini  beans, drained
200g spinach leaves

Fry the pancetta in a medium pan on a high heat for a few minutes, then add 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.

Meanwhile finely chop the spinach and add them to the pan with the beans. 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 porkchop over each. Sprinkle over the reserved oregano leaves, finish with a drizzle of olive oil and serve.

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