Be prepared to be blown away by this simple but unusual pork cooked in milk recipe.
Pork cooked in milk is a classic Italian recipe - one that I have skipped over FOR YEARS in my 'Classic Itlian Cookbook'!
It finally caught my eye when I was looking for something competely different to do with my pork roast.
I can tell you - this is anything but bland with the addition of red chile flakes and fennel and the braising liquid makes a cream gravy to die for.
I have long eyed the American breakfast buffets with biscuits and cream gravy but if the cream gravy is anywhere near as good as this sauce is - I may have to reconsider!
Chef's Tips for Pork Cooked in Milk
- Trim any excess fat from the fat cap of your roast. A small coating is fine but you don't wan't a quarter inch or so.
- You can use whole milk as in the traditional recipe but increasing the cream percentage makes for a creamier gravy/sauce. You can use half whole milk and half a higher cream percentage. I used 10% cream for the whole liquid amount.
- The traditional method serves the roast with the braising liquid broken and curdled as it will be after braising. The taste is not affected but I like to use my immersion blender to make a silky sauce for nicer presentation.
- I added carrots to the braise during the last hour of cooking. Optional step but it save time!
Italian Milk Braised Pork With Fennel
- 3.5 lb pork loin roast can sub boneless pork shoulder or pork butt roast
- 1.5 Tbsps coarse salt (Optional See Note 1) do not sub table salt if dry brining overnight
- 2 Tbsps olive oil
- 4 cups 10% cream see Note 2
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste (optional but recommended)
- 1 tablespoon crushed fennel seed
- 1 lemon
- 6 thyme sprigs fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup parsley chopped
- flaked sea salt, ground pepper for finishing
- Trim off any excess fat cap if there is one. Pat roast dry with paper towel. Rub coarse salt all over the roast. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Optional step) See Note 1 below to skip overnight dry brine.
- When ready to cook, let roast stand 30 minutes at room temperature.(Optional step)
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Pat roast dry. Heat butter and oil in a heavy bottom or non-stick Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the pork roast and brown about 4 minutes per side. If butter starts to turn brown, reduce heat. Tranfer pork to a plate and set aside.
- Add the cream and red pepper flakes to the Dutch oven and heat, scraping up bown bits. Remove Dutch oven from heat.
- Rub crushed fennel seeds all over pork roast. Add pork and any accumulated juices back to the Dutch oven with the cream.
- Scrape 4 long pieces of peel from the lemon. Scrape off any white pitch before adding the strips to the pot. Add the bay leaf and thyme. Zest the remaining lemon and reserve zest for garnish later.
- Braise roast, uncovered in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Turn roast over halfway through cooking.
- Remove roast to a serving platter or carving board. Cover lightly with foil and allow it to rest 10-15 minutes. The sauce will be split and curdled. The traditional Italian approach is to serve it this way. I prefer to blend til smooth with a stick blender or in the blender.
- Slice and serve the pork with milk sauce poured over. Garnish with parsley, reserved lemon zest, flaked sea salt and fresh ground pepper if desired.
- There is lots of sauce with this dish and it is delicious with mashed potatoes or pasta.
- Leftovers keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days.