Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pork braised in milk

As I said in my last post, my sister gave me The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. As I paged through it I was intrigued by the pork braised on milk recipe. I had seen a similar, maybe the same, recipe mentioned on the Savuer Web site awhile back and decided to give it a shot. It was also incredible easy, requiring just four ingredients, salt, pepper, pork and milk. But I also know it wouldn't be good for my Jewish friends.

Now I've done my fair share of braises in the past, you basically brown the meat, add some aromatics and liquor and simmer. I like the technique because it's pretty easy and makes the house smell really good. Hazan called for a pork rack, a cut that I don't' have easy access too, but she said it could also be done with a pork shoulder, which is what I used.

Her recipe had this braise be a bit more involved than I'm use to. It started with the typical salt and pepper of the meat followed by a quick sear on all sides. Then she had you slowly add the whole milk. she said add 1.5 cups, I did a little more, probably two cups because the piece of pork was a bit bigger, 3.5 pounds, whereas she used one that was 2.5.

Now adding this much milk only brought the milk about half way up the piece of pork, which is what the recipe more or less said. Hazan said you should move the pork around during the process, also adding more milk as some of it cooks off. Also, at various time you should have the lid of the pan slight ajar whereas at other times have it fully on.

This is why it's a more complex braise than others I've done. Typically you brown the meat, add the veggies, add the liquid, bring to a boil, cover turn the heat down and let cook.

All told it cooked about three hours and I used about three cups of milk. The end result was really good. The pork turned out moist and rich wit a complex flavor. I cooked the remaining milk down, removed some of the fat and it made a nice sauce.

On Tap:

I'll be doing some baking next week for Kevin and Katie's showers, Rory's cousin. Mexican wedding cookies, brownies and the crack cookies are on the menu. I've made two changes to the crack cookies recipe too, I now put a little bit of French sea salt on the top before putting them in the oven and add a Starbuck's VIA to the batter when mixing it up.