Cooking meat in milk is common throughout north Italy because it results in moist meat and a wonderfully rich and flavorful sauce. The milk transforms during the cooking from liquid to yogurt-like clusters which form a rich brown sauce. Valentina Harris advises me that if you give it a good whisk over the heat just before you are ready to serve, it helps to break up the sauce slightly, giving it a smoother texture.–Katie Caldesi
LC Fatty Fat Fat Note
A stroke of Italian brilliance, this classic tenderizing technique infuses a relatively cheap cut of pork with the subtle sweetness of milk. Thing is, pork loin nowadays is leaner than it once was back in the day. Those who like their pork falling-apart tender and infused with fatty flavor ought to consider swapping the loin for a fattier cut of pork, perhaps something from the shoulder region such as pork butt. (We love saying those words almost as much as we love devouring the tantalizingly tender meat.) Promise you won’t be disappointed. As for that milk sauce, it’s going to look curdled and, truthfully, not exactly come hither. But just wait till you taste it.
Roast Pork in Milk
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 2 H, 35 M
- Serves 8 to 10
- 3 1/2 pound pork loin, bone loosened and re-tied (see “Chining” below)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1. Remove the rind from the loin of pork for a leaner roast or leave it on and score with a sharp knife for a crusty-topped roast with crackling fat. To chine the pork, cut as close to the ribs as possible to partially separate the flesh from the bones but leave a “hinge” of meat in place to keep it together. After cooking, this can simply be cut through. Leaving the bones attached to the meat means you gain flavor and prevent the meat from drying out. Season the outside of the pork with salt—but go easy, because pork is a naturally salty meat.
- 2. Heat the butter and oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or flameproof casserole. Lower the pork into the pan and sear until the skin is crisp and a rich golden color, turning it every few minutes. It will take about 15 minutes to ensure all the edges are golden.
- 3. Reduce the heat slightly and add the milk to the pan or casserole very, very slowly so it doesn’t bubble up too much. Gradually bring it to a gentle simmer and partially cover the pan. Let the pork cook like this for 2 hours, or until the juices run clear when pierced with a skewer. The pork will be tender but not fall-apart tender.
- 4. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Leave the pan with the cooking liquid on the stovetop. Skim most of the fat from the surface of the juices and discard, then whisk the remaining cooking liquid to break up the chunks of coagulated milk a little. It won’t be pretty, but that’s okay.
- 5. Carve the meat and place the pork slices on a warm plate. Pour the pan sauce over the pork and serve. (If you find upon slicing the pork that you’ve undercooked it, slip the pork slices and sauce in an oven cranked to 350°F (176°C) and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until cooked through.)