- 75g pearl barley
- 3 plums
- 40g honey
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 2 pork chops
- 45g butter
- 140g swiss chard
- 400ml water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt + extra
- for seasoning
- Freshly ground pepper
Heat your oven to 170°C/Fan 150°C/Gas 3½. Place the pearl barley in a pan over a medium-high heat for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally, till the barley grains are evenly toasted with a golden colour. Pour over 400ml water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 25-30 mins. All the water should be absorbed into the barley and the grains should become plump and translucent. Cover with a lid and set aside.
Meanwhile, halve the plums, gently twisting to separate them, then remove and cut free the stones. Cut the halves into quarters and place them on a baking tray. Pour over the honey and scatter over the thyme sprigs along with a pinch of salt. Roast for 5 mins.
Prepare the Swiss chard by trimming and discarding any ragged ends from the stalks. Use a small knife to remove the stalks from the leaves following their natural shape. Roughly chop the stalks into strips and set aside.
Remove the plums from the oven – they should be sitting in their own crimson syrup. Set aside.
Rub the pork chops with 1 tsp olive oil, ¼ tsp salt and some black pepper. Heat a frying pan over a low heat and, once warm, place the chops in the pan, fat-side down, using tongs to hold them in place if necessary. Cook for 8-10 mins till the fat is golden and has melted into the pan. If they're exceptionally fatty, drain off a little of the fat.
Turn the heat up and turn the chops onto their sides to cook for 3 mins on each side. Lower to a medium heat and cook for a further 3 mins on each side. Remove from the pan once evenly coloured with well rendered fat and place on the baking tray alongside the plums to rest for 8 mins.
Add 2cm water to the chop pan. Use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan. Once the water is boiling, add the chard stalks and cook for 3 mins or till they're soft enough to pierce with a knife. Add the chard leaves to wilt into the pan, then strain off any excess water and stir through the butter and pearl barley. Season to taste.
Divide the pearl barley and buttered Swiss chard between the plates. Top with a chop and spoonful of roasted plums, not forgetting the syrup and resting juices.
Florence's Top Tip
Swiss chard must be treated as two parts: the stalks should be trimmed and gently cooked and the delicate leaves wilted at the last moment.