The first time I braised a pork shoulder in milk, I stood in my kitchen thinking, “What could be better?”
The second time I braised a pork shoulder in milk I had my answer: Nothing.
This is an incredibly easy, very affordable recipe that, if you’ve never had pork braised in milk before, will have you telling everyone about its awesomeness. Buy yourself a 4 – 5 lb. boneless pork shoulder. Have your butcher trim off any big pieces of fat…keeping some “modest size” pieces for flavor. Once home, and you’ve poured yourself a “cooking scotch” (not to be confused with “home from shopping scotch”….although they are similar), sprinkle a good amount of kosher salt on a large cutting board, and crank up your oven to 375 degrees.
Next, season the entire pork with a tablespoon of kosher salt and a teaspoon of black pepper. Roll up the pork and, and tie with butchers twine. If you haven’t done this before, it’s super easy, and will make you feel like a bad-ass. Once tied, roll the pork over the salt.
In your favorite French or Dutch Oven, toss in five cloves of garlic, three bay leaves, and one each big, thick sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
Place your tied pork shoulder in the pot, and cover with 8 or 9 cups of whole milk, or until almost covering the meat. It should look like this:
Carefully place pot in the oven, with the lid on, but slightly ajar. After two or three hours check to see that the milk is evaporating and thickening nicely. At three (possibly more) hours it should look like this (don’t worry about the curdling…you want that, it tastes like savory, porky custard…and you’re gonna want another scotch when you see what you’ve made).
Carefully remove the meat with tongs and place onto your cutting board. With a sharp knife cut the twine and slip it off the pork. The pork should be falling apart slightly and you’ll be tempted to start tearing off smaller, then larger pieces. And you should.
Being a child of a Polish mom who grew up in Milwaukee and ate food from Poland, Germany, and Eastern Europe, the obvious side dish for this piece of meat is spaetzle, which I grew up savoring. Spaetzle tossed in butter, and parsley? I mean…(insert Homer Simpson salivating noise here). An easy and delicious recipe I’ve used a number of times is Tyler Florence’s version. It’s simple, and you probably already have just about everything you need in your kitchen. If you don’t have a spaetlze maker, I recommend one of these.
But be careful, I promise you will be tempted to eat so many more than you think you can…or should….and you probably will.
Plate with a good serving of spaetzle, some chunky pieces of pork, and cover it all with a few spoonfuls of the milk/pork “custard (apologies for the blurriness of this picture. But between the scotch and the salivating, I wasn’t shooting well).
- 1 pork shoulder (boneless) 4 -5 lbs.
- 9 cups of whole milk
- 5 cloves garlic
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 3 bay leaves
- spaetzle fixins (see recipe link above)
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