Just recently I heard about the magic of a milk braised pork shoulder. It sounds a bit odd, as I wouldn’t normally expect to braise meat in milk (I suppose it doesn’t get any more unkosher than this), but what you end up with is tender pork and a delicious nut brown sauce that just melts into the pork. Being a lactard, I opted for lactose free milk, but I think the result was the same. I also roasted some vegetables, but you could serve with anything, including rice, which would have been a nice addition.
Truth be told, this is apparently one of Marcella Hazan’s well known dishes. I don’t know that she was the first to do it, but being the Italian version of Julia Childs, I think we’ve gotta give her the props for the dish anyway. Here is the method, and remember you could easily add potatoes, carrots to the pot and braise them as well. I opted for just onions and spices. Hazan’s recipe doesn’t call for that, but I think it makes the sauce better.
Serves 2-4 (depending on pork size)
3-6 lbs pork shoulder, preferably boneless (I used bone in)
4 cups whole milk (I used lactose free)
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, whole and bruised
1/2 onion, 1/2 inch dice
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary
1 tablespoon oil (not olive)
3 tablespoons butter
Season pork with salt and pepper and let sit until room temperature (important for browning)
Heat oil and butter in large dutch oven or pot with lid over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add pork shoulder and brown entire piece. Do not go easy on this step. You want it nicely carmelized on the entire shoulder.
Once browned, add 2 cups of milk, garlic, and all the other seasonings except the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes and then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. You only want tiny bubbles to come up from the milk, not heavy boil.