Pork braised in milk is a classic Italian dish (maiale al latte) and a decadent, low-prep meal that’s ideal for making on a lazy weekend afternoon. Our recipe is perfectly sized for our No.8 Dutch Oven, and becomes a one-pot meal by wilting mustard greens in the creamy braising liquid.
Nota bene: As the pork simmers in its creamy bath, the milk will begin to curdle as its lactic acid breaks down the meat. This is a good thing, and the cottage cheese-like orbs that form are packed with flavor. To make the dish more presentable, we quickly blend and emulsify the braising liquid before serving, but if you want a more rustic look, feel free to skip this step.
If your oven is tied up, you can cook the pork start-to-finish on the stovetop. Just be sure to keep an eye on the braising liquid (it should simmer at a constant, gentle bubble) and don’t forget to flip the pork every 30 minutes or so.
Don’t like/have mustard greens? Use kale or swiss chard.
Make sure you use whole milk as your braising liquid. Use anything less fatty, and you’ll miss out on lots of flavor and richness.
Your target texture for the pork is tender enough to slice or tear into large chunks. If you overcook the meat, you’ll end up something akin to pulled pork (but it will taste just as great!).
Milk-Braised Pork with Mustard Greens
2 tablespoons canola oil
One 2½- to 3-pound boneless pork shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups whole milk
6 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 large shallot, peeled and halved lengthwise
Strips of zest from 1 lemon (removed with a vegetable peeler)
6 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
Pinch of red-pepper flakes
2 bunches mustard greens, stems and ribs removed, torn into 3-inch pieces
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 275°F. In a 4.5-quart Dutch Oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels, and season all over with salt. Sear the pork until golden brown on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Pour off any excess fat.
Add the milk, garlic, shallot, lemon zest, thyme, bay leaf, and red pepper flakes to the pot. Bring the milk to a simmer, then cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Braise the pork, turning it over every 30 minutes or so, until very tender when pierced with a knife, 3 to 3½ hours. Uncover the pot and place on top of the stove.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board and tent with foil. Discard the thyme stems, bay leaf, and lemon peel. Bring the liquid (which will have curdled by now; this is OK) to a simmer, then add the mustard greens and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the mustard greens to a serving platter and pour the liquid from the pot into a blender. Add the lemon juice and blend until smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice or tear the pork into large chunks and scatter on top of the mustard greens. Pour the sauce over the pork, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.