There are literally thousands of recipes for pork loin braised in milk, scattered all over the internet. I've tried cooking this several ways, yet to me the very best recipe and method comes from one of the greatest Italian cooks and food writers, Marcella Hazan.
It is a classic dish, and quite rightly! It sounds bizarre, and if you have never tried it don't be put of by the seemingly strange combination of ingredients. It's worked for hundreds of years and once tried will be a great favourite!
20 g butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1.25 kg pork loin with ribs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
575 ml (1 pint) fresh full cream milk
When buying your pork loin it is probably easier to ask your butcher to remove the ribs. We want to leave the pork loin in one whole piece, but the butcher can split the ribs into 2 or 3 parts. Removing the loin form the ribs will allow the loin to be browned more evenly. The bones will, of course, add huge flavour to the completed dish. One last thing - do not remove the fat from the loin, it will melt during the cooking but also baste the meat.
Take a large, heavy bottomed casserole dish and heat the oil and butter over a medium high heat. When the butter ceases foaming place the pork loin into the dish, fat side down. Brown all sides of the loin thoroughly taking care not to burn the butter. If the butter starts turning dark brown lower the heat slightly.
Now add the salt and a few good grinds of black pepper. Now pour in 250 ml of the milk, but do so slowly so that it does not boil over. Allow the milk to come to a good simmer for upto 30 seconds and then turn the heat down to just below medium. Place the lid on the pan, but slightly askew, not tightly fitting.
Allow the pork to cook on a very lazy simmer (Marecella's words!) for approximately 1 hour. The milk will have thickened into a light nut brown sauce. Exact timings will depend upon the heat and thickness of your pot). Now add another 250 ml of milk and allow it to simmer once more with the lid askew for a further 10 minutes.
Now place the lid on tightly and continue cooking on this light simmer for 30 minutes. Please turn the loin a couple of times during this process.
After 30 minutes place the lid askew and cook on a minimum heat until there is no remaining liquid. now add the remaining milk. Continue cooking on the minimum heat until the meat is very tender and the milk has coagulated into small nut brown clusters. If the liquid evaporates before the meat is sufficiently tender add more milk (up to another 100ml).
When the meat is very tender and the sauce has thickened into dark clusters, remove from the heat and transfer the meat onto a cutting board. Allow the meat to rest for perhaps 5 minutes. Now cut into slices approximately 1cm thick, and place on a warmed serving plate.
Whilst the meat is resting, tip the pot and spoon off most of the fat (there will be a good deal of it, don't worry)but leave all the coagulated milk clusters.
Place the pot over a high heat and add just a couple of tablespoons of water, and using a wooden spoon scrape all the cooking residues. What results is the most amazing nutty brown very light but wonderfully flavoured sauce.
Pour over the pork and serve at once.
Fantastic with a simple green salad or some steamed spinach (with a hint of nutmeg) perhaps!