Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Milk Braised Pork Tenderloin

It might not seem like we have been braising a lot since, somehow, I seem to have started several braised food posts but not finished/published them. But trust me, we've been braising a lot. We are really enjoying the Dutch oven.
Back in January, we made Pork Loin Braised in Milk from Cover & Bake. I was a little apprehensive. A braising liquid of milk and white wine didn't sound too exciting. Also, in researching milk braised pork recipes, we discovered that the milk can get a little brown & clumpy. That didn't sound appealing.
The pork is browned in salt pork which has been chopped and rendered. This adds a lot more flavor to the dish. We bought salt pork at Market District. It's pretty fatty, jumpy stuff - look at this little guy who jumped from the pot on the stove, across the island, and nearly landed in a mug:
The recipe is pretty straight forward: season pork, brown pork in salt pork, add onion, carrot, celery (and garlic, if you wish) and herbs (bay leaf, sprigs of rosemary or thyme [we used dried]) then add milk and bake at 325, partially covered, until pork reaches 150 degrees.
The wine is added to the milk after the pork is cooked. The pork is removed to rest and the vegetables/herbs are fished out and discarded, then the wine is added and cooked until the sauce reduces to around 2 cups. Any brown clumps can be left as is or strained out or pureed.
The pork turned out very tender and moist. The sauce had a very nice flavor, but not a strong flavor of any one ingredient.
What I love about braising (aside from the ease of putting stuff in a pot in the oven and walking away for a few hours) is that the sauce/liquid is great for reheating purposes. It really helps keep the meat from drying out when it is reheated. Three meals for the week, served with biscuits and steamed broccoli.
How we did it:

about 1/4 lb salt pork, cubed
about 2.5 lb boneless pork loin
salt & pepper to season pork
1-2 onions, halved
no garlic
2-3 carrots, peeled and halves
2-3 celery ribs, halved
1 bay leaf
dried thyme sprinkled in (could use rosemary, could use fresh)
3.5 cups whole milk
1/3 c white wine

*For onion, celery, carrots in braises, we look at what we have in the refrigerator and what looks 'good' in the pot. Sometimes if the recipe calls for 1 medium carrot, we might use our last large carrot, or our last 2-3 smaller carrots, or if we only have 4 carrots left we might just use all 4. If, after we add the braising liquid, it doesn't cover it the meat, we add more liquid or remove some extra veggie.

See above for photos/directions.

The March 2014 issue of Cooks Illustrated has a very similar Pork Braised in Milk recipe.

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