Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world. Try to source your meat from a good local supplier — it should be humanely raised on natural feeds. Many different varieties of fresh shell beans are available in markets from late summer to early fall. Almost any one will work here, from flageolet or Jacob’s cattle to lima. Or, try borlotti or cannellini, and use sage in place of the thyme.
Pork Chops with Cranberry Beans and Thyme
4 pork chops, each 8 oz. and 1 inch thick
4 slices pancetta or bacon
Sea salt and ground pepper
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 shallot, minced
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups shelled fresh cranberry beans
1 Tbs. fresh thyme, minced
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Working with 1 pork chop at a time, wrap a pancetta slice around the outer edge of each pork chop. Secure with a toothpick, season the chop with salt and pepper, and set aside. Repeat with remaining pork chops and pancetta.
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add garlic and shallot and sauté until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Add cranberry beans and thyme and simmer until bean burst, about 10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and mustard and season well with salt and pepper. Turn off heat, but leave saucepan on burner to keep warm.
In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Sauté pork chops, turning once, until they are golden brown on both sides and pancetta is crispy, 4 to 6 minutes per side. If chops are browning too fast, reduce heat to medium.
Divide warm beans among individual plates, top each plate with a pork chop and sprinkle with parsley. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve at once. Serves 4.