Looking for a meal to wow your dinner guests? Try this simple adaptation of a classic Italian dish, where pork loin is braised in milk to create an intensely-flavored sauce and juicy, tender meat.
Braising is a cooking method used often to make tougher cuts of meat fall-apart tender. A variety of liquids can be used. The concept of braising meat in milk isn’t new. In fact, the idea has been around for quite some time and is a classic European method used by world-renown chefs. But why? Why use milk as a braising liquid? Because the result doesn’t hold a flame to other typical liquids like stock or wine. Nothing compares to the rich, silky sauce that erupts with flavor when finished. Additionally, the lactic acid in the dairy helps tenderize the meat and allow for all the flavors to be absorbed more.
Now some people are scared because milk is known to curdle, especially when cooked with any acid and at a high temperature. However, if cooked correctly, there is actually very little curdling and the tiny curds just add to the texture of the sauce. By using the lemon and orange zest instead of their juices, this not only amplifies the citrus flavor due to the essential oils found in the zest, but it also helps prevent additional curdling. Also, using whole milk and heavy cream are essential to having a thick, rich sauce with very little curdling.
A heavy-bottom cast iron pan is highly recommended for this recipe for nice, even slow cooking. The dish is best served immediately with a woody green vegetable like asparagus or broccoli and of course a crusty French baguette for dipping into the wonderful, creamy sauce.
This may not be the prettiest of all dishes, but the melt-in-your-mouth flavors will have you making it for guests time and time again!
Guest post by Rebecca Egsieker, CC
Rebecca Egsieker is a trained chef and communications professional in the dairy industry. She has worked in recipe and development for gourmet food companies as well as specialty grocery chains. After leaving the Ritz-Carlton, she started her own private chef business in California where she worked with clients that had special dietary needs. Today she is a communications professional for the Southeast Dairy Association.