Braising pork in milk is a traditional Italian method of cooking pork that results in meltingly tender meat. This recipe deviates a little from the classic version by using a combination of creme fraiche and stock instead of milk, hence the quotation marks in the title above. Using a mixture of creme fraiche and stock gives this dish a more robust flavour and when it’s reduced, a much more luxurious gravy. This would have to be one of the nicest braised pork dishes I’ve made, and given the simplicity of the recipe and ingredients, something I’ll be making frequently. The recipe comes courtesy of Food Wishes a fantastic blog where chef John gives informative step by step videos to accompany all his recipes. The pork can be served with mashed potatoes, crusty bread or even some rice or pasta but it’s particularly good paired with creamy parmesan spiked polenta.
Ingredients – Serves 4 Adapted from Food Wishes Blog
1 kg boneless pork shoulder, cut in 2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 rashers bacon, cut into large dice
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 ¼ cups best quality chicken stock
½ cup crème fraiche
2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage leaves (don’t chop them too finely)
12 whole sage leaves fried in a small amount of olive oil until crisp
Salt and pepper
Red chili flakes
Parmesan spiked creamy polenta for serving. – recipe can be found here
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan with a lid – a shallow sided pan is best. Add the bacon and cook over low heat until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon leaving the fat in the pan. Season the pork pieces generously with salt and pepper and raise the heat to medium-high. Add the pork pieces and cook until nicely browned on both sides. This step is best done in batches to ensure the pan doesn’t get over crowded. Take your time frying the pork pieces – you want to achieve a nice caramelisation on each side. As the pork browns remove from the pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion along with a pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion is soft and slightly golden. Add the sliced garlic and cook, stirring for another minute. Add the chicken stock and creme fraiche and using a whisk stir until well combined, scraping the residue left at the bottom of the pan from the meat and onions. Add the bacon back to the pan along with the chopped sage and bring to a simmer.
Return the pork pieces to the pan and reduce the heat to low. Once it’s at a low simmer place the lid on and cook for about an hour or until the meat is almost tender all the way through. You want to be able to break it with a spoon but it shouldn’t be falling apart. Increase the heat to medium-high and reduce the sauce uncovered until you’ve achieved and nice syrupy gravy, make sure that you keep coating the meat with the pan juices as you reduce it. This should take about 15-20 minutes and by the end of that time the pork will be very tender. Add a nice pinch of chilli flakes, and season with salt if required. To serve place a generous spoon of polenta on each plate, top with some pork pieces and sauce and finish with a few crispy sage leaves.