Pork Shoulder Braised in Milk

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Pork Shoulder Braised in Milk

For an authentic Italian experience, accompany this rich, hearty roast with farro, the rustic, barleylike wheat. After hours of braising in a savory liquid, the pork becomes fall-off-the-bone tender — perfect for a comforting cold-weather meal. When it’s time to serve, scoop up the savory sauce with a slotted spoon to leave the fat behind.


Pork Shoulder Braised in Milk


1 boneless pork shoulder, 3 1/2-4 lb. (1.75-2 kg.), trimmed of excess fat

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 Tbs. olive oil

25 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped

4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l.) whole milk

1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml.) heavy cream

3 bay leaves

Zest from 1 lemon, removed in wide strips with a vegetable peeler

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice


Remove the pork shoulder from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1-1 1/2 hours.


Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).


Season the roast generously all over with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other large, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the oil. Add the pork, fat side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes. Repeat to brown all sides, about 15 minutes total. Adjust the heat level so that the meat sizzles actively but does not scorch. Transfer the pork to a platter and pour off the fat from the pan.


Return the pot to medium heat and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the sage leaves. Cook for 1 minute. Stirring constantly, slowly pour in the milk and cream. Return the pork to the pot, fat side up, and add the bay leaves, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon salt. Season generously with pepper. When the liquid begins to steam, partially cover the pot and transfer to the oven.


Cook the pork, turning it every 30 minutes, for 2 hours. Uncover and continue to cook until very tender, 30-60 more, again turning after 30 minutes if cooking for longer than 30 minutes more. Transfer the pork to a platter and let the pan sauce settle.


With a slotted spoon, remove the curds from the sauce, leaving behind the fat, and transfer to a fine-mesh sieve set over a small saucepan. Push the curds through the sieve to make a smooth, creamy sauce. Warm the sauce over low heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The sauce should be subtly tart from the lemon and slightly peppery, to cut the pork’s richness. Cut the pork into thick chunks and serve at once, passing the sauce at the table. Serves 6-8.


Recipe from The Cook & the Butcher, by Brigit Binns.

31 comments about “Pork Shoulder Braised in Milk

  1. karen

    How many sage leaves? They are not listed with the rest of the ingredients. Thanks. My husband and I both enjoy your magazine.

    1. Williams-Sonoma Post author

      Hi karen, we apologize for the confusion — the sage leaves were missing from the ingredient list! This recipe calls for 25 sage leaves, coarsely chopped. The post has been updated accordingly. Thanks for the callout, and hope you enjoy!

  2. karen

    I used 10 sage leaves there was just a hint of sage but we loved it. Will definitely repeat this one.

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    1. Williams-Sonoma Post author

      Hi Lisa, we like to serve this dish with cooked farro to soak up the juices, but brown rice or polenta would work well, too. Hope you enjoy!

  7. Nkosi Harvey

    Hi I love the serving plate pictured in the photo. Is it available on the website? This is a delicious recipe by the way. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. simon

    For this recipe, is it necessary to remove the skin and fat? That’s usually my favorite part.

    1. Tom

      I’d just add more regular milk. Evaporated milk doesn’t break and curdle when you heat it…and in this recipe you actually want the milk to break, separating into clear fat and tasty browned curd.

    2. Andi

      Yes !! It will give off a sweeter flavor, but still delicious. Cubans cook their pork this way 🙂

  11. Peggy

    Going to make this tonight, but have no idea of what to make with it. Thinking root veggies, what is the traditionally served with this dish?

    1. Williams-Sonoma Post author

      Hi Peggy, we’d recommend serving this dish with pasta (you can shred the pork and toss everything together), polenta, mashed potatoes and/or sauteed greens or other vegetables, like broccolini. Cooked farro or brown rice would be nice, too. Hope you enjoy it!

  12. Matt

    Hi! this recipe looks great and I can’t wait to make it. I was wondering though, in the ingredients, the recipe calls for a pork shoulder with excess fat trimmed, but then in the recipe, it says to return the shoulder to the pan, fat side up. When we trim the excess fat, should we leave on the big bottom layer of fat?

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  16. Ben

    Made a dish tonight that loosely followed this recipe. Turned out amazing. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  18. Grace

    Does anyone know this dish does when you make it ahead of time? Having friends over for dinner and need my oven for other things but don’t want sauce to over settle.

  19. Ed

    do you use just the curd or do you mix it with the left over fat after pushing it through the sieve?


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