Milk-Braised Pork Loin
In this simple adaptation of classic Italian dish, pork loin is braised in milk to create an intensely-flavored sauce and juicy, tender meat. Use a heavy pot for cooking to help prevent the milk from curdling. If the milk forms “clusters,” don’t worry—that is one of the characteristics of this recipe.
- 1 boneless pork loin (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided,
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (zest of 2 medium lemons)
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Several whole thyme and sage sprigs (added to pot and for garnish)
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Let pork loin come up to room temperature for about an hour. Season pork liberally on all sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed pot, like a cast iron Dutch or French oven, that is it just large enough to fit pork. Add pork and sear on all sides, 10-12 minutes. Remove pork from pot and set aside on plate.
- Place remaining 2 tablespoons butter in pot and melt over medium heat. Add shallots, cooking until just translucent. Add herbs, garlic, citrus zest and nutmeg and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add milk and cream, stirring to combine all ingredients. Return pork to pot, along with any accumulated juices and whole springs of thyme and sage, bring up to a slow simmer. Cover pot and place in preheated oven. Cook 2 hours, turning it half way through cooking. Uncover and cook an additional 30 minutes.
- Transfer pork to a carving board and let rest at least 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the larger curds if any from the sauce and discard any herb stems. Place pot back on the stove over medium heat; bring to a simmer. Cook 12 to 15 minutes until reduced by half, stirring frequently so milk doesn’t scorch. Cut pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices and arrange on deep serving platter. Ladle milk gravy over pork and garnish with any remaining fresh thyme, sage and zest.
Source of recipe: Rebecca Egsieker, The Dairy Chef