Place the beans in a large bowl. Cover with cold water by 2 inches and soak overnight. Drain.
In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the pork chops and cook, turning, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beans and enough water to cover (6 to 7 cups) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.
With a heavy wooden spoon or potato masher, mash about half of the beans against the sides of the pot. Continue cooking until very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another pot, cook the pancetta over medium heat until the fat is rendered, about 6 minutes. Add the sauerkraut, 1 cup of water, the remaining bay leaf, the sugar, peppercorns, and salt. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender and aromatic, about 30 minutes.
Add the sauerkraut mixture to the beans and stir well to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Ladle into 4 deep bowls, giving each person 1 pork chop. Place several fried croutons in each bowl and top with the diced prosciutto. Grind freshly ground black pepper over the top and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Serve.
Yield: 4 servings