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.