MAIALE AL LATTE (Bolognese, with milk, for six)

“In Sumatra, there is a similar dish, rendang, which stews water buffalo in coconut milk.  After a time, the white coconut milk breaks down into a clear oil and the meat cooks and browns very much as pork roast does in cow’s milk…perhaps there is a basis here for future research into cultural similarities between Bologna and Palembang.”   Raymond Sokolov, The Cook’s Canon

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

a 3 pound Boston butt, trussed up lightly with string

3 juniper berries, crushed

2 large rosemary sprigs

2  large sage sprigs

1 strip fresh or 4 dried California bay leaves

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

½ cup dry white wine

3 cups whole milk


1.  Place the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400*.

 2.  Heat the oil in a wide 5 to 6 quart ovenproof heavy pot over medium heat until it shimmers, then lightly brown roast on all sides with juniper berries and herbs about 8 to 10 minutes total.  Add garlic and sprinkle roast with sea salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, then cook until garlic is golden, about 1 minute.  Pour wine over roast and briskly simmer until reduced by half.  Pour  milk over roast and bring to a bare simmer.

3.  Cover pot, place it in the oven, and immediately turn the heat down to 325*.  Braise the roast, turning it occasionally, until tender (milk will form curds) and a thermometer reads 180*, about 2 hours.

4.  Transfer roast to a carving board and loosely cover it with foil.  Strain the juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discard the solids and skim off fat.  Returnthe juices to the pot and boil until flavorful and reduced to about 2 cups.  Season with salt and pepper, slice roast and serve moistened with the juices. 

 NOTE:  Pork can be braised 1 day ahead and chilled in liquid, uncovered, until cooled, then covered.  Bring to room temperature, then reheat and proceed with recipe.

adapted from Gourmet Magazine, April, 2008 and Marcella Hazan, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

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