This is a very traditional Italian dish that we cooked up the other night to rave reviews. It is very quickly getting colder here in the Northeast, and we are wasting no time cooking up some of our favorite, and discovering some great new, braises.
I’ll be honest with you, as much as I love the light, fresh foods of summer, and being able to harvest part of our evening meal from our very own garden, I am more than ready for the low and slow comfort foods of fall. This recipe is from Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray’s Italian Country Cook Book: The River Cafe. Rogers and Gray are the chefs behind the highly regarded “River Cafe” in London, the place where Jaime Oliver was working when he was “discovered”. Their approach to food and cooking is very straightforward. Do as little as possible to the best ingredients you can find, respect tradition and don’t overcomplicate things…..Amen.
This dish is a perfect example of this style of cooking. There is hardly anything to making it, and while it may lack visual appeal (the curdled milk sauce sadly makes it appear as though someone gacked on your plate…oops), the depth of flavor this one brings will have you reaching for it again and again.
This is one of the dishes that I made all on my own one night, fearing that it’s simplicity would prompt any of the kids to look at me with a raised eyebrow, and say….”you pulled me away from my eight hours worth of homework to help you with THIS? Are you kidding me….you couldn’t manage THIS by yourself Mr. high-falutin’ French trained chef? Puhleez…I’m going back to work, you can chuck all the stuff in the pot without my help, I just KNOW you can.”
This is about as simple a braise as you can do, I do hope you give it a try soon, because while it may look rather unfortunate on your plate, it will taste delicious. Serve it with a nice smooth polenta and garlic sauteed chard or kale.
- 4-5 pounds boned loin of pork, rind and most of the fat removed*
- sea or Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons. olive oil
- about 6 cups whole milk
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 1 small handful fresh sage leaves
- zest from 2 lemons, in thick strips
- Generously season pork on all sides with salt and pepper.
- Place a heavy-bottomed saucepan that is just large enough to hold the pork over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat. Add pork and brown on all sides, turning only as necessary. Transfer pork to a plate; carefully pour off and discard the fat in the pan.
- In a small pot over medium heat, warm milk, but don't let it boil.
- Return the pork's pan to medium heat, add butter and heat until melted. When foam subsides, add garlic and, if using, the sage and cook just until garlic is softened but not browned. Return pork to pan and add enough hot milk to submerge pork by at least three-quarters. Increase heat to medium-high and bring milk to boil. Immediately reduce heat to medium-low, add lemon zest, cover partially and simmer gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until internal temperature of the pork is 155 degrees. Note: Resist the temptation to disturb meat while cooking. The milk will curdle and form brown nuggets; don't panic, this is what you want as they taste nutty, sweet and delicious.
- Let the meat rest under tented foil for 10-15 minutes before serving, reducing the milk sauce a little more during this time if you desire. Slice the pork thickly, and spoon cooking sauce over top of pork to serve.