Pork Loin au Lait

Adapted from Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook

The first time I came across a recipe for pork in milk sauce I thought it was extremely odd and not the least bit appetizing. I am not a big meat eater and least of all pork, so I moved right along. But then I found variations on this concept just about everywhere and it made me think again. The foodie in me had to believe that all these fine chefs, cookbook authors and food magazine editors could not be wrong. Right? So this variation is from Mr. No Reservations himself. My Jewish husband remarked that his ancestors would probably roll over in their graves…but he asked for seconds anyway and then ate it for lunch the next day.

  • 3 pounds boneless pork loin roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Season the pork loin roast on all sides with kosher salt and black pepper. Be very generous with the seasoning. You will thank me later. Set pork aside on the counter for about 20 minutes or so. Do not put it back in the refrigerator.
  • Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, drop in the butter and allow it to melt fully. Brown the pork loin roast on all sides. Allow it to sit on one side and become entirely crusty and brown before rotating it. This process should take roughly 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pork from the pan and set on a plate.
  • Add the onion, carrot, leek and garlic and stir over medium-high heat until soft and caramelized, about 8 minutes. Be careful not to allow the vegetables to burn. Since they are chopped very finely, they can burn easily if the heat is too high. Add the flour, then stir constantly for about 2 minutes. Finally, add the milk, parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then continue cooking over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. The mixture will turn a brown caramel color as it bubbles vigorously. Return the pork to the pan, along with any juices that may have accumulated on the plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and allow to simmer for an hour. Be sure to turn the meat every 20 minutes or so. The sauce will look a bit curdled and funny when you open the lid to turn the meat, but don’t panic. It’s supposed to look like that. It should smell pretty good by now.
  • Remove the pork from the Dutch oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. While the pork is resting, finish the milk sauce, which should be thick and deep caramel brown in color by now. Strain the mixture into a small sauce pan using a medium sieve (fine is going to be too fine, as this silly girl made that mistake on the first try). Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce until it becomes just a little foamy. Remove it from the heat and add a little salt and pepper if necessary. Mine didn’t need any additional seasoning, but it also depends on how generously you seasoned the pork in the first place. If you followed my instructions at the top to a tee, you probably won’t need to add any more salt or pepper to your sauce either.
  • Slice the pork roast into even slices, arrange on a platter and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve with additional sauce on the side.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. If you are not able to find a pork loin roast, you may use a pork tenderloin. However, there is a little extra fat on the loin roast that will help this recipe achieve it’s full flavor. In the words of Mr. Bourdain, “The notion that fat is bad has really been harmful to the enjoyment of pork.” As one who typically shops for the leanest cuts of mean available, this is a tough notion to swallow. But having prepared this recipe, I can see his point.
  • 2. Since the milk is a key ingredient in this recipe, I would not attempt to use low-fat or skim milk here. I used whole milk, with which I rarely cook, but I believe you need the milkfat to allow the sauce to form in its intended fashion.

Preparation time: 25 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s) 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

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