I’m going to give you a heads up: When you do this, you are going to pull it out of the oven and go “Hmm. Did I screw this up?”
Answer: No, you didn’t. It looks weird.
However, it is also delicious.
I tried a different version of this a few years ago, but it didn’t turn out well. When I saw this recipe from Williams-Sonoma, I was motivated to give it another shot (especially since I actually had fresh sage in the fridge-what are the odds?!). The picture just looked so pretty! Happy to report that my second attempt was worth the chance.
It fit my MO as of late- minimal hands on time, cooking low and slow in the oven. Can I just say, thank GOD for the return of crockpots and ovens!?! Try mashed potatoes or polenta on the side-mmmmm…
Purchasing note: I find that it is hard to beat the pork shoulder at Sam’s. I always find that it has a good fat cap on it and is super reasonably priced. HOWEVER, they are clearly larger roasts, but they will cut it for you if you ask. If you forget to ask, this is what happens:
Milk-Braised Pork Shoulder
- 1 boneless pork shoulder 3 1/2-4 lb. (1.75-2 kg.), trimmed of excess fat
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 25 fresh sage leaves coarsely chopped
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 bay leaves
- Zest from 1 lemon removed in wide strips with a vegetable peeler
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- Season the pork generously all over with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven or other large, ovenproof pot over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter with the oil. Add the pork, fat side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes. Repeat to brown all sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the pork to a platter and pour off the fat from the pan.
- Return the pot to medium heat and melt the other 2 tablespoons butter. Add the chopped sage leaves and cook for 1 minute. Stirring constantly, slowly pour in the milk and cream. Return the pork to the pot, fat side up, and add the bay leaves, lemon zest and 1 teaspoon salt. Season generously with pepper. When the liquid begins to simmer, partially cover the pot and transfer to the oven to cook for 2 hours, turning every 30 minutes (I didn't do this, just FYI).
- Uncover and continue to cook until very tender, 30-60 more, again turning after 30 minutes if cooking for longer than 30 minutes more. Transfer the pork to a platter and let the pan sauce settle.
- With a slotted spoon, remove the curds from the sauce, leaving behind the fat, and transfer to a fine-mesh sieve set over a small saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, push the curds through the sieve to make a smooth, creamy sauce. Warm the sauce over low heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The sauce should be subtly tart from the lemon and slightly peppery, to cut the pork’s richness. Cut the pork into thick chunk and serve at once, passing the sauce at the table.