While not the prettiest of dinner plates, the kids (and adults) sure do line up for seconds of this Milk Braised Pork Shoulder. It’s the perfect Sunday Supper for the fall. A Tuscan tradition that is both savory and delicious.
In fact, last Sunday I felt like I was channeling someone else’s Italian grandmother as I wrestled with a 7 1/2 lb “picnic size” pork shoulder, removing the skin and extra fat and then rubbing it down with generous amounts of salt, pepper, garlic, sage, thyme and rosemary. I think I may have actually gotten some exercise browning the hefty monstrosity (at least 50 calories burned!). I did not think ahead well enough to actually let it marinate in this nice herb rub, but I think that it would amp up the flavor just a notch.
I will admit that I think my husband almost threw up at the suggestion of milk braised pork for dinner. When I enthusiastically raised my ideas for a menu for this past’s weekend table, Geordie, almost choking, asked: ”That sounds disgusting. Won’t it curdle?”
The answer is yes, it does. Which is why a fine mesh sieve is a must have for straining the yummy sauce post braising. All those disgusting little curdles go buy-buy. You are left with a rather plain looking but incredibly tasty sauce/gravy, which you can skim the fat off of and then spoon over the pork. Do not think of serving the pork without that sauce!
Now if you’d prefer a little less exercise than I got cooking the shoulder, you might consider trying a double pork tenderloin (held with twine tightly together) instead. That is what I am going to do next time around. I’ll probably reduce the oven cooking time to about 1 hour, 45 minutes to 2 hours because there is less meat and no bone. You could probably also serve it over rice, although I served it with some simple mashed potatoes (which some kids save my daughter tend to like). It worked quite well.
Milk Braised Pork Shoulder
Author: Julie du Pont
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours 40 mins
Total time: 3 hours
- 2 tbsp olive oil (1 for rub, and a second for pan)
- 2 tbsp sage, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp course sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 pork shoulder with bone in (7-8 lbs), trimmed of excess fat and skin
- ¼ cup white wine
- 4 cups whole milk
- In a small dish combine 1 tbsp olive oil, sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, sea salt, ground pepper and cayenne pepper making a “rub” for the meat. Cover the meat with the herb mixture and let marinate for 4-8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large Dutch Oven. Add pork shoulder to the pan and brown on all sides, approximately 8-12 minutes (depends on shape of pork).
- Add wine to the pan for 2-3 minutes, flipping the shoulder halfway through.
- Next add 4 cups of whole milk. Bring to a simmer.
- Cover Dutch Oven and cook for 2 to 2½ hours, flipping the meat halfway through to ensure meat is braised on both sides.
- Remove from oven and transfer pork shoulder to carving board. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing or shredding.
- Meanwhile pour the sauce/gravy through a fine mesh sieve to remove curdles and larger herbs. Return sauce to pot and bring to a boil. Simmer and reduce the sauce to about 2 cups.
- Serve the pork over garlic mashed potatoes, generously spooning the sauce over top.
Julie du Pont is a Darien resident, mom and lawyer. She blogs about food and entertaining at Weekend Table