Sunday, May 12, 2013

Roti de Porc au Lait

Wandering through my few cookbooks, I came across this recipe. Since it has been a while since I last did a pork roast, I figured I'd give it a spin even though the idea of braising a roast in milk seemed a little odd.

Roti de Porc au Lait
adapted from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, also found here

3 lb. boneless pork loin roast
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tbsp flour
2 c whole milk
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig of flat parsley, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf, tied together)

Season the pork with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in the Dutch oven. When the oil is hot, add the butter.

Brown the roast on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes total.

Remove the roast from the pan and set aside on a large plate.

Add the onion, carrot, leek, and garlic and stir over high heat until soft and carmelized, about 10 minutes.

I let mine caramelize over 8 minutes.

Stirring constantly, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

Add milk and the bouquet garni.

Bring to a boil and cook over high heat for 5 minutes.

Add the pork and any juices that have collected on the plate. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour, making sure to periodically rotate the pork (the sugars in the milk can cause sticking and scorching).

After 20 minutes I turned turned the loin over and found that it was beginning to scorch. The milky mixture was also beginning to look curdled. Forty-five minutes later, the milk mixture had separated and the milky chunks were not exactly appetizing.

Remove the pork and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Remove and discard the bouquet garni.

I couldn't see the bouquet garni in the cooking liquid. Since the next step was straining the liquid, I didn't sweat it.

Strain the cooking liquid into a blender and purée the sauce until foamy. Adjust the seasoning as needed.

Carve the pork and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the sauce over and around and serve immediately.

While the browned roast looked fabulous, milky chunks notwithstanding, it turned out a little dry. I will rule out inadequate standing time as the culprit since my pork stood 28 minutes before I made the first cut. Maybe I should've let it braise longer since my roast was 3.4 pounds instead of 3.0? I'm not sure. Anyway, having the sauce worked out ok; it was disappointing that it was a necessity.

The sauce did taste good, only slightly sweet from the lactose in the milk, and definitely savory due to the pork juices. But my aversion to sauces left me on a see-saw of like-dislike. I'm not sure if I'd ever make this one again except to find out why it did turn out drier than expected. Not incredibly expensive and fairly simple to complete, I might give it another go with a different cut of pork roast, a long skinny one instead of a squat round one.

  • boneless pork loin roast: $10.17
  • olive oil: $0.48
  • butter: $0.07
  • onion: $0.28
  • carrot: $0.25
  • leek: $0.86
  • garlic clove: $0.08
  • whole milk: $0.70
Total: $12.89 or about $2.15 for each of 6 big servings.