Slow cooked pork in milk the Italian way

pork in milk

 

italian street sceneCooking pork in milk is an old Italian method that is comfortingly good. It doesn’t sound particularly alluring to boil meat in milk nor does it rank high on fashionable recipe lists (right now; watch this space) but sometimes it’s worth revisiting older methods to see why we cooked that way originally.

Firstly cooking in milk serves a practical purpose because the lactic acid in the milk tenderises the meat and makes it lovely and juicy and sweet and prevents the meat from drying out.

Secondly, as the milk slowly bubbles away and evaporates slightly, it becomes amalgamated with the other ingredients, and congeals beautifully into a risotto like consistency, creating flavour levels that have evolved throughout the cooking process. The milk transforms into a rich gravy and the dish becomes self-saucing. So the flavour and texture benefits to this relatively primitive process far out way its status

milkCooks often use dairy in many recipes to tenderise and moisten meat. Meat is marinated in yoghurt whilst fish is cooked in milk for kedgeree and chowder. Pork requires a good long soak in milk for the tenderisation process to complete its job, but equally as well as serving a practical purpose the milk adds a delicious creamy and rich flavour to the dish.

Cooking the potatoes in the milk is a must as they are like little sponges just ready to soak up the salt and spices in the warm liquid.

slow cooked porkThis isn’t the sort of dish you can throw in the oven on a low setting and forget about for hours. It requires a certain level of attention and care as milk is a liquid that will evaporate and has a tendency to burn. Just like the Italian culture is all about food and socialising, so this dish must follow in the same way. Embrace the time in the kitchen and incorporate the social aspect of cooking with good friends and wine.

 

 

Pork Slow cooked in milk recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg pork leg or shoulder with most of outer fat trimmed.
  • 2 litre of full fat milk
  • 80g salted butter
  • 80g chopped bacon or bacon lardons
  • 2 onions finely sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 kg of floury potatoes like Maris pipers

Method:

  • Heat the milk in saucepan until nearly boiling
  • Take a large cast iron pot or a ceramic casserole pot and cook the onions and bacon in the butter until they are brown and caramelised.
  • Add the pork and brown on all sides
  • Add the garlic
  • Add the bay leaves
  • Add all of the heated milk
  • Add 2 pinches of sea salt and some cracked black pepper
  • Peel and roughly chop the potatoes
  • Place around the meat
  • Cook the potatoes in the milk for 20 minutes, remove and roast for the remainder of the cooking time.
  • Simmer the meat for 1 ½ – 2 hours on the hob with a lid or transfer to an oven at 150 -160 degrees
  • KEEP AN EYE ON THE DISH. CHECK IT REGULARY. ADJUST TEMPERATURES ACCORDINGLY IF NECESSARY OR ADD A DASH MORE LIQUID IF REQUIRED
  • The meat should be tender and the sauce should resemble a risotto consistency. A curdled appearance is usual
  • Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with a spoonful of the sauce

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Juanitas slow cooked lamb with lemon oregano and potatoes

“I do enjoy a Sunday roast; it brings back memories of my childhood and waiting patiently in the kitchen while my mum lovingly prepared the food. To this day I will prepare a roast every Sunday, a nod to my childhood. However I like to vary my preparation method depending on time of year and what is in season. This is a summery take on a lamb roast with flavours of garlic, oregano and lemon. It requires a long slow cook so patience is definitely required but the results are worth it. Any leftover lamb can be used for shepherds pie, salads or my lamb scrumpets. Check out more of my recipes at: www.fosburyfoodie.co.uk “

 

Ingredients:

  • 8kg boneless lamb leg
  • 800g charlotte potatoes
  • 3 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 40g butter
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 125 ml water
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • Oregano and yoghurt sauce
  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1/2 clove garlic
  • sea salt
  • Generous bunch of watercress

 

Method:

  • Set the oven to 210°C (fan).
  • Next prepare the lamb. Place the lamb in a roasting tray that is large enough to hold the meat and potatoes. The lamb should open up if it’s been deboned, so make sure you unroll it and lay it out flat. If it hasn’t been butterflied do not worry, you can also cook it as a whole joint.
  • Rub the lamb all over with 1 tbsp of the olive oil.
  • Squeeze one of the lemons over the meat and sprinkle with half the salt and 2 tbsp of the dried oregano. Make sure the meat is well coated and then pop in the oven on the top shelf.
  • Cook for 15 mins on one side before turning over and cooking for another 15 mins. The meat should be beautifully brown after this time.
  • Remove the lamb from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150°C (fan).
  • Set the lamb aside on a plate and then pour away the fat from the roasting pan.
  • Next chop your potatoes. If you’re using charlotte potatoes you will not need to peel them; the reason why I’ve chosen a waxy potato over a more floury one such as a king edward, is because they stand up to the long slow cook. Cut into rough 1cm dices, but you don’t need to be too precious about this.
  • Tumble the potatoes in to the roasting tin and add the remaining olive oil, salt and dried oregano. Next break up a bulb of garlic and scatter the cloves over the potatoes. With a wooden spoon mix everything together so that it is well coated.
  • Take the butter and chop into small chunks; dot around the potatoes and garlic.
  • You can now get the lamb and sit it on top of everything in the tray, make sure to pour any of the juices that have collected on the plate on top of the meat.
  • Finally pour the wine and water around the lamb and over the potatoes and garlic.
  • Cover the roasting tin with tin foil and place back in the oven for 4 – 4.5hrs. The house will fill with delicious aromas!
  • You will know when the meat is ready as it will flake apart easily with two forks and the potatoes will be soft and golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to stand while you prepare the sauce.
  • For the oregano & yoghurt sauce
  • Strip the leaves from the oregano sprigs and add to a blender with the garlic and a generous pinch of salt (if you can’t find any fresh oregano this would also work with fresh rosemary, just reduce the amount to 3). Blitz until finely chopped.
  • Next add the olive oil and whizz again until you have a loose paste.
  • Spoon the yoghurt in to a small bowl and then add the oregano paste. Mix well and set aside until ready to serve.
  • To serve
  • I like to serve everything on a large serving platter which I place in the centre of the table; that way everyone can dive in and help themselves. Shred the lamb with two forks and pile on to the platter with the potatoes and a large bunch of watercress. Serve the oregano and yogurt on the side. Any left over lamb you can keep in the fridge for the lamb scrumpets recipe!