Pork Braised in Milk ~ Comfort in the Midst of a Polar Vortex
It’s rare that the wind stops blowing on this hilly dairy we have moved to. So when 2015’s polar vortex winter storm hit, just days from the anniversary of the ’14 storm that had Atlanta commuters stranded on Southern interstates, I was sure we would lose power in the old farmhouse. I did an inventory of our storm prepped pantry foods, checked both freezers to assess the frozen food situation, and baked a little more each day that we still had power.
By adapting and doubling my whole wheat Pumpkin Spice Scones recipe, I was able to make a large sheet pan of Apple Spice Scones for snacking and adding to my frozen stores, along with the whole wheat French baguettes my son had made the night before. I simply substituted applesauce for pumpkin puree in the recipe.
When on the third day of the storm we still had power, but a dawn temperature of -10, the coldest I’ve seen in my 40+ years, I decided my family needed a big, savory pot of comfort food to warm us through. Since a stomach virus whipped through our house during Christmas, our appetites have been fluctuating from nil to ravaging. I had to postpone Christmas dinner because I just couldn’t stomach making it and none of us could fathom eating it. The same thing happened a week later when we delayed our planned New Year’s Day dinner. It’s been so problematic that I’ve also ended up behind on the end of the year blog posts I had planned because I just didn’t want to look at food any more than necessary. Last evening, however, my boys and I were hungry and ready, and so was the milk-braised pork loin, just in time for my husband to walk through the door from work…with a stomach bug he’d been fighting all afternoon. Ugh!!!!
I served the pork with caesar salads for my sons and a mini, meatless version of my favorite pomegranate salad for myself, while my husband skipped the greens to see if his stomach would settle. Whole wheat penne was wonderful saturated with the pan juices from the pork, with the little milk curds I love that form when the pork and milk cook together.
I don’t do anything special when I make pork in milk, just salt and pepper a pork loin, then sear it, fat-side down at first to render it, then all over to brown.
Then I pour in enough whole milk to fill the pan to the halfway point of the pork.
I cover it and let it braise in a 350 degree oven until the internal temperature of the center reaches around 145, when it becomes fork tender and retains its wonderful juices.
I have braised many different cuts of pork in milk over the years, as it is one of my favorite quick and easy comfort food dishes to prepare and enjoy, and all of them have worked beautifully.
This loin was just under 5 lbs. and took 1 hour 5 minutes to come up to temp.
I’m so glad there is plenty of pork and pasta left for Saturday’s lunch while the world begins to thaw. Such a comforting thought.
Yield: 8 servings