Pork Roast Braised in Milk.
So ridiculously easy and so AMAZINGLY tender and delicious.
Sounds like a weird thing — braising in milk — but apparently it’s a very traditional Italian way of cooking pork roast.
This recipe comes from this incredible cookbook by Marcella Hazan.
We’ve visited other pork recipes from this same book before here at Idiot’s Kitchen. Remember Pork Chops with Porcini Mushrooms and also our very first recipe, Pork Chops with Tomatoes & Sage? Both recipes from this book. This lady knows her pork.
I was reminded of this recipe by my friend Paula who wrote about making this pork roast for Thanksgiving. Paula is a fellow flute playing food nut who rescues animals (sound familiar?) but she rides a hot red motorcycle so she’s much cooler than me.
Anyway, after seeing her beautiful pork roast photo and blog post, I got busy making my own.
The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. Very few ingredients and hardly anything to do while it is cooking other than adding more milk and enjoying the smells wafting through your house.
Here’s what you need:
Pork Shoulder Roast*, Whole Milk, Butter, Oil, Salt & Pepper.
*The best cut of meat for this particular roast is a pork shoulder roast oddly called a Boston Butt. (Insert your own joke here…….)
As you can see, it’s quite an inexpensive cut of meat but nicely marbled with fat – perfect for low and slow cooking.
Oh, and just in case you’re starting to worry about me, I used an old photo here not a piece of meat that expired a month ago.
Melt 1 Tablespoon of Butter and 2 Tablespoon of Oil (canola or olive oil) in a large, heavy pot or dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the roast with salt and pepper and brown it on both sides.
If you find that the butter is getting too brown, turn the heat down a bit. When both sides of the meat are nicely browned, add 1 cup of whole milk to the pot.
Allow the milk to simmer for 30 seconds, then turn the heat down to low (the lowest setting you can find and still keep the milk simmering). Cover the pot with a lid slightly ajar and cook for 1 hour.
You can see that the milk magically begins turning into this amazing sauce. The meat is becoming even more brown and tender.
When the sauce is a dark, golden brown (after 1 hour or even 90 minutes if needed to become nicely browned), turn the meat over and add 1 more cup of milk.
Simmer the milk for 10 minutes with no lid and then put the lid back on tightly and simmer on the lowest setting for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, set the lid slightly ajar again and continue to simmer away.
I’m not totally convinced of all this lid on lid off lid on lid ajar stuff, but those were the instructions so I followed them. You would probably be just fine cooking the entire thing with the lid slightly ajar.
Check in occasionally to turn the meat and check in on the milk. You will notice how the solids in the milk (the fat) start to clump together. This is a good thing. Continue to cook until there is very little or no more liquid in the pot and then add another 1/2 cup of milk.
Note: Because the lid of my dutch oven is made to trap in moisture and juices though little dimples on the lid, I had to cook my roast with the lid 2-3 inches ajar to get the sauce to brown.
In total, a 3 pound roast will need between 3 and 4 hours of cooking time. You want the meat to be incredibly, fall off the bone, fork tender.
The sauce will have become golden brown. Mine got a little too brown (thanks to my dumb electric stove). Remove the meat to a platter, let it rest for a few minutes, then slice it into thick pieces.
Sneak a sample or two while you cut it up to prove to yourself that this is indeed one of the best pork roasts you’ve ever tasted.
Go back to the pot and spoon off most of the fat trying to leave as many of the little milk clusters as possible in the pot.
Don’t be alarmed if you spoon off quite a bit of fat – even as much as 1 cup.
Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to the remaining milk clusters and stir to create an ultra rich sauce.
You can serve the sauce over the pork, although I will admit that I actually preferred the roast plain without any sauce.
Think of this as the pot roast of the pork family. It’s incredibly rich so probably not a dish you should be making every week, but also incredibly delicious.
I served mine with some mashed red skin potatoes. Paula served hers with polenta – which I’m going to try next time.
Eating it right off the platter with no side dishes is also a good option.
Here’s the recipe: adapted from Marcella Hazan