Having ignored pork (bacon not included) for most of the fall and winter, I’m taking advantage of our groundhog-mandated extended winter and making the pork dishes that are on my to-do list.
I’ll admit, when I first heard of pork braised in milk, I raised my eyebrows. I don’t keep kosher, but the idea of so egregiously mixing meat and dairy seemed like too much, even for a meat lover like me. I stand corrected. After slowly simmering in a garlicky milk sauce, the pork becomes impossibly tender, infused with the unique aromatics of sage. The milk and garlic reduce together to form a silky sauce that serves as a bath and a dressing for the pork.
This tender and flavorful dish is relatively low impact and easy to make. Just keep an eye on the pork to be sure it browns evenly, and allow it to rest to seal in the braising liquid. The pork is delicate but powerful – serving it alongside a light salad and simply roasted vegetables for a hearty and elegant cold weather meal. You’ll never ignore pork again.
Adapted from Food & Wine
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1 1/2 lbs boneless pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut in half
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp Dijon or herb mustard
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup whole milk
2 garlic cloves, halved
1 sage sprig
2 large sage leaves, minced
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Season the pork with salt and pepper and slather it with mustard. Brown the tenderloin on all sides on moderately high heat, turning, for about 9 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
- Pour off the excess oil in the skillet. Add the milk, garlic and sage sprig. Simmer over medium-low heat until the garlic is almost tender, about 20 minutes.
- Add the pork to the skillet and simmer, turning every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes, or a meat thermometer reads 140°. Transfer the pork to a plate to rest. Cover with foil to keep warm.
- Use a blender, immersion or regular, puree the milk with the garlic until smooth, adding more milk if necessary.
- Plate the pork, cover it with sauce and minced sage, and slice. The pork should be light pink on the inside, but not rare. Serve with a lightly dressed spinach salad and roasted maple-glazed root vegetables.