Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pork Loin Braised in Milk

by Peg Cochran

This recipe comes from Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook. Although I’m half Italian, my grandmother never made anything quite like this dish—most probably because she was from southern Italy where dairy products were scarce and tomatoes were used more often.

This recipe might seem strange at first, but it yields a delicious, succulent pork roast with a wonderful, subtle flavor. There is just enough sauce to nap the meat and perhaps top some garlic mashed potatoes which make a wonderful accompaniment. With winter weather upon us, this makes a wonderful Sunday dinner…or anytime dinner for that matter.

I’m posting some pictures, but I have to admit I draw better pictures with words than I create with a camera! I decided to switch the camera mode to manual so I could turn out the flash (which was bleaching everything out too much) and it seems that the longer exposure requires a steadier hand than I possess. I swear, I hadn’t even broken into the wine yet when these were taken! Hopefully they will at least give you some idea of what to expect!

I’ve lightened the recipe a little—less butter and oil, and, since we never have anything but ½ % milk in the house, that is what I use. I’m sure the sauce would be even more delicious with whole milk!

Marcella warns that you may have over a cup of fat to remove when the roast is done, but my guess is that she’s used to dealing with European pork. Ours has become so lean that this yields surprisingly little fat.

1 TBL butter
1 TBL olive oil
2 lbs. pork loin
1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Freshly grated pepper – 5 to 6 twists
2 to 2 ½ cups milk

Heat the butter and oil in a heavy lidded pan or Dutch oven until foam subsides. Add pork, fat side down, and brown, then turn and brown thoroughly on all sides.

Add the salt, pepper and milk (be sure to add the milk slowly so it doesn’t boil up and over). Allow the milk to come to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and partially cover. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, basting occasionally (or, what I do is to simply turn the roast over.)

Remove the meat to a platter. If the milk has not darkened at all, boil rapidly until it begins to turn a light brown. Remove fat—the easiest way is to pour the liquid through a fat separator. Return milk to pan (and be sure to keep those coagulated milk clusters that give the sauce its flavor) and stir over medium heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the sauce reduces to a few tablespoons.

At this point, the sauce has a rather unusual appearance but a delicious taste! To make it look more like a sauce, I sometimes put it in a blender and whirl for a few seconds, but that is not necessary for the taste!

Slice meat into 3/8 inch thick slices, arrange on a platter and serve with sauce. Bon Appetit!


  1. Pork with Milk Gravy must be in today... I was going through my Pressure Cooker Cookbook and there is a Recipe for this. I actually have items on my shopping list to make it this week.

    Same ingredients as above but mine has the following also in it: minced garlic, white wine, chicken broth, rosemary, and cornstarch for thickening.

    I am going to have to try both :)

    1. I looked for this pork chop/milk gravy recipe done in the pressure cooker every where, I didn't find it! Would be do kind to post it! Thank you

  2. Let me also ask, does anyone cook with a pressure cooker? I have an electric one and have several delightful recipes if someone would like them to be shared :)

  3. I've never had a pressure cooker, but I love my crock pot for meals that are ready when I get home from work! I think you'll like this recipe--it's flavorful and tender but very mild. The pork really shines.

    1. I also have a crock pot and love it. I use each of them although I do use the slow cooker more. Since getting my cookbook for pressure cookers I am using that a tad more as of right now.

      Either way I am sure I will enjoy your recipe!

  4. It's the first time I hear about pork cooked in milk, I,m sure it's delicious and will try it.
    You have very pretty jars at the back of the picture. How come that the words on them are french ones ?
    Thank you for your recipe.
    Danielle (I prefer to put my name because I may have to comment as anonymous, my google doesn't work well here )

  5. I know what you mean about Google! I've had my share of trouble with it.

    Thank you, I love those canisters! They were purchased with some "birthday" money from my Mom. I'm guessing they might have been made in France. I have a strong affinity for French language and culture having studied French all through college and having spent 15 years working for Pierre Matisse, the son of the artist Henri Matisse.

  6. Peg, I cook a lot of pork, but I *never* think of making a sauce with milk. What a great idea. I have to try this. It's right up my alley!

    ~ Krista

  7. Sounds incredible. I might try this this week.

  8. What an interesting idea! I love that cookbook--I think Marcella single-handedly converted me to pesto.

  9. Hi, Peg - Great post. Cooking pork in milk is indeed a delicious combo. Marc and I often cook mini hams (aka porkettes or the less than elegant "pork butts") in milk and find the milk bath mellows the salt content and sweetens the meat. Love this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing it, and welcome to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen!

  10. Wow, this is making me salivate--and the sauce on the mashed potatoes would be heaven...