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
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Recipe Testers Reviews
Before I get too far along, let me just say that the star of this dish is the sauce, hands down. That said, it’s a sauce with a face only a mother could love, which is a shame. Given its rather regurgitated look, it was passed on by all the kids, but there was a silver lining to be found—more sauce for ME. Even blasting the sauce briefly with a stick blender at service doesn’t help much. It’s just plain hard to make chunks of curdled milk look good. From a taste perspective, the sauce is knock-it-out-of-the-park delicious, a combination of sweet, caramelized sugar from the milk and a meaty saltiness from the pork. It is perfect. As for the meat itself, I found that I enjoyed the very ends of the roast best, as they were the most marbled with fat that melted beautifully and melded with the sauce. The closer we got to the center of the roast, the firmer and less flavorful the meat was. That’s not to say that the meat was dry inside, because it wasn’t, but the fattier end pieces were much more satisfying. That said, I think the next time I make this, I’ll use a different cut of meat, perhaps from the shoulder, such as a picnic roast or Boston butt. It will no doubt require a tad more de-fatting of the sauce at the end, but should result in a fall-apart-tender roast. A final note: while not asked to in the recipe, I rolled the roast in the milk every half hour or so to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, as well as to ensure that ALL of the meat had equal time submerged in the reducing sauce. I would recommend you do the same.
Wonderful, delicious, and so surprising. This is absolutely not what I expected from braising pork in milk, nor did I expect the milk to transform into such a rich, beautiful sauce. The pork was tender, but not falling off the bone, unlike other cuts that contain more gelatin or connective tissue. What you do get is a perfectly toothsome bite of meat that is moist and flavorful, just how loin should be cooked. Rather than whisk the sauce to incorporate the milk solids, I sieved the solids out and separated the fat into a beautifully classical demi-glace. Serve this pork and its sauce with a creamy polenta. Yum!
Prior to telling what we all thought of this recipe, I must share my mother-in-law’s perplexed and worried look when I started testing it. She bought a beautiful pork loin roast and as I was getting ready to start preparing it, she pulled out the oven pan for it. I went on to explain this was to be done on top of the stove. The look on her face was priceless, and she was pretty nervous about this dish’s outcome. Needless to say that once it was cooked, she was in awe as her husband and sons were picking the meat around the bones. Indeed, its outcome was a fantastic, juicy, and tender roast filled with taste, and the milky sauce that accompanied it could not have been better. Both my husband and I also loved it, but right away started to think of other ways to redo it even more to our taste. We thought of adding a nice strong mustard next time. We shall see!
I hadn’t braised pork in milk for quite some time, so I was excited when this recipe appeared. This dish could hardly be simpler—sear, add milk, and braise. What I enjoyed about this recipe is that the pork flavor was pronounced, as pork tends to be neutral in taste. But this method makes you feel like you really are eating pork! The recipe said to cook the pork at a low simmer for two hours, or until juices run clear. Well, my preference is to cook pork to slightly blush pink, and this took nearly 45 minutes longer. Before that, the juices were still dark pink to red. Thankfully I started the recipe early! The meat was moist (definitely not even close to falling apart, but I think that is the nature of pork loin) and certainly did need to be seasoned with salt and pepper after cooking. I found that simply whisking the milk curds was not enough, so I pulverized in a blender instead for a smooth (albeit very runny) sauce. For leftovers tomorrow, I will thicken the sauce slightly with arrowroot or cornstarch. The flavor of the sauce was simple yet lovely served with garlic mashed potatoes. The bonus was the cracklings, which I sort of saved for myself (I opted to leave the rind on). All in all, I would make this again doing the same as I did this time—cook longer for perfect blush pink interior, blitz the sauce in a blender and season after (which one does normally anyway). Minor changes. A spoon of tart jelly or cranberries would be a nice accompaniment—so would fresh thyme thrown in for the last half hour or so of cooking.