In order to use some of the Prosciutto di San Daniele and the pancetta I brought back from Venice, S and I hosted some friends for Sunday lunch. We welcomed friends with Bellini sorbet-cocktails (i.e. a splash of Champagne over white peach and prosecco sorbet that S had made) followed by a Pierre Herme macaron as a sweet starter. This was followed by a veritable pigfest. I made a mixed salad of rocket and spinach, topped with the prosciutto. Next was a fettuccine carbonara which used up the pancetta and to which I added some of Tetsuya’s truffle salsa. After this, we served pork tenderloin braised in milk plated with braised purple cabbage. To end the meal, S used a Claudia Fleming recipe for a blueberry cream cheese tart with a graham cracker crust (which we’ll post about in the near future).
I’ve used several recipes (all variations of each other) over the years for pork tenderloin braised in milk. Since seeing the dish, I’ve been trying to perfect it. It combines two things I love, pork and milk. Obviously, I’ve tried Marcella Hazan’s; I’ve also tried the River Café’s and Moro’s. None of these have really pleased me. The pork has often come out a little too firm. This time, I tried Molly Stevens’ recipe, found in her book All About Braising. This recipe cooks the pork for a much shorter time than these other recipes, and also uses less milk. She also tests the pork’s internal temperature, asserting it’s ready when it reaches 150 degrees F. I seasoned a wonderfully fatty piece of loin with garlic, sage, crushed fennel seeds, salt and pepper overnight. When ready to cook it, the oven was preheated to 140 degrees C (275 F). I heated some butter and olive oil in an oval dutch oven / cocotte. The pork is then browned and set aside. In the hot oil and butter, I quickly cooked some crushed garlic and then poured in 1.25 cups of whole milk, bringing it to a boil. Then I put the pork in, fatty side down, covered it and placed it in the oven for 45 min. After 45 min, I turned the pork over, and put it back in the oven for another 30 min. The pork then stands while the braising liquid is reduced and then blended smooth. To serve, the pork was sliced and the heated sauce spooned over it.
Today’s pork was perfect. It was tender and soft. The sauce, when reduced and blended, was flavorful. The cabbage was braised with a combination of duck fat, butter, Champagne, chicken stock and shallots and matched the pork well, both in looks and taste.