I started my final semester in grad school last week, and I am already in panic mode about all of the homework that I have. I didn’t have class on Mondays last semester, so I got used to putting things off until Monday and having a whole extra day in my weekend to do homework. Unfortunately, that is not the case this semester, and I will have to get used to getting things done earlier. I didn’t do any work all weekend until Sunday, and then I ended up being up pretty late on Sunday night trying to get my work done. My mom is coming to visit tomorrow, and I will be going to Houston this coming weekend so I needed to finish my homework especially early this week. I woke up at 5AM this morning and finally managed to get everything done before my first class at 10:30 only to get to school and realize that today is Martin Luther King day, and there are no classes. I was angry because I had spent my morning in a panic, furiously doing homework, but it also gave me a whole day of cooking and watching Doctor Who (I cannot recommend that show enough).
This is without a doubt one of the top five best meals that I have ever made. I was a little bit iffy on the sauce for this because it is basically made with curdled milk, and I don’t usually think of curdled milk as a good thing. Don’t let the title of this recipe scare you off. I guarantee that you would have wanted to make this if you had seen the photo in the magazine that it came from. Speaking of, I received the new issue of Cuisine at Home in the mail, and it included an extra Slow Cooker edition this month. There are so many delicious-looking recipes in these magazines that I am going to be cooking out of them for months. These recipes do tend to be a little bit more involved that I would usually go for, but they consistently turn out really well. This recipe was also not too much trouble because the slow cooker does most of the work for you.
I realized too late that I had bought a package containing two smaller pork tenderloins instead of the one big one that I thought I had bought. I just cooked both of them, but because of the smaller size the pork ended up being more shredded than sliced. There is nothing wrong with shredded pork; in fact, I think that I prefer pulled pork over a sliced piece of pork any day. It also makes for great sandwiches, so I don’t think that there is a problem with using a smaller roast with this recipe. I used my favourite substitution of dry vermouth for dry white wine because it is cheap, and I really like the taste of it in cooking just as much if not more than white wine. The magazine also provided a recipe for tomato-spinach barley to serve as a side, and I decided to make it with orzo instead of barley.
Italian Pork Braised in Milk
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh sage
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Zest of 1 lemon
1 boneless pork loin roast, trimmed (1 1/2 – 3 lbs)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used vermouth)
2 cups whole milk (it does need to be whole milk and not skim)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water
Salt and pepper to taste
Puree oil, sage, garlic, salt, pepper, pepper flakes, and lemon zest in a food processor; coat roast with mixture using a brush or spatula.
Sear roast in butter in a saute pan over medium heat until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove the roast from the pan. Deglaze the pan with wine (deglazing just means using a liquid to scrape up the bits in the pan to make a sauce). Cook until liquid is reduced by half (it took about 2 minutes).
Pour milk into a 4- to 6-qt. slow cooker; add roast and deglazing liquid. Cover; cook until roast is fork-tender, on hight-heat setting for 4-5 hours or on low-heat setting for 6-7 hours. Remove roast; keep it warm on a plate covered with foil.
Puree sauce until smooth (I used a blender, but you can use an immersion blender in the slow cooker if you’ve got one). Transfer the sauce to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Dissolve cornstarch in water; add to sauce. Boil sauce for 30 seconds; season with salt and pepper.
Slice pork; serve with sauce. Garnish servings with sage sprigs, if desired.
8 oz. dry quick-cooking barley (I used orzo instead)
2 tsp butter
4 cups chopped, fresh spinach (I only used about 2 cups because 4 seemed excessive)
1 cup seeded and diced tomato
Salt and black pepper to taste