Got milk?

by Matt Ruff on December 22, 2011

Following Tuesday’s chicken foot adventure, last night I decided to try pork braised in milk:

The big brown tubers on the right are cassava, or yuca, which my Brazilian cousins turned me on to a few months ago, and which I thought would make a good accompaniment.

For the main course I used the “Roast Pork and Garlic with Milk” recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World. You start by heating olive oil in a Dutch oven, browning two heads’ worth of peeled garlic cloves, then browning and seasoning the meat on all sides. Then you pour in enough whole milk to almost cover the roast, bring to a boil, and simmer until the meat is tender and the milk starts breaking down into curds:

As for the cassava, my cousins had warned me that it’s a bit of a pain to make from scratch (they buy theirs pre-peeled and frozen). You need to peel the outer skin with a knife and cut the root into chunks, removing the woody core. From there it’s like boiling a really dense, starchy potato. Timing’s a bit tricky, because different sized chunks cook at different speeds, and they start to disintegrate not long after they’re done, but I was able to find a happy medium. Here’s the finished cassava, topped with a Cuban-style sauce of red onion, garlic, parsley, and orange and lime juice:

And below is the finished pork, topped with a bit of milk-garlic sauce. Unfortunately the photo, taken with my iPad2, makes it look like something out of a scary ’50s cookbook; trust me, it’s more appetizing than that. Iron Chef Kitteh couldn’t wait to dive in:

My final verdict: Both good dishes. I liked the pork but didn’t find it special enough, compared to more conventional braising/roasting methods, that I’d rush to do it again this way. The cassava on the other hand I really dug, and I’m curious now to see what else I can do with it (I believe the cookbook said something about croquettes).

Tonight: pizza.

Kat December 23, 2011 at 6:22 am

My Irish great-grandma always made pork chops cooked in milk. It’s a recipe that has come down through my family and been modified by each generation. My mom always made the chops in an electric skillet. She’d brown them in butter and then cover with milk (and keep covered) for 2-4 hours. For the last couple of hours she’d put little red potatoes in to cook with the chops. The milk gravy/curds on the chops and the potatoes were one of my favorite things as a kid. As a grown up, I add a little garlic and onion to the initial browning, and add some fresh mushrooms at the same time I add the potatoes. Still a great comfort meal for me.

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