OK, we are getting down to the star of an American table, the main course (the meat course, called the Secondo at an Italian dinner). Most folks have heard that meat is considered a luxury item and served sparingly in most of the world. Think about sausages... Meat with fillings. If you have been reading along over the last few days, following a large platter of Antipasto meats and cheeses, a Tomato Bruschetta, a Pasta and a Salad served as the Primo, A potato dish and a cooked Swiss Chard salad dish served as Contorno (side dishes, vegetable dishes). By the time the platter of meat was served, it was not the star of the show... Simply a balanced course served as part of a single meal. All the parts were coming together!
I have already covered the Antipasto course (2 "party" Trays (Cured meats and Cheeses) and a plate of Bruschetta) ...Italian antipasto - Antipasto all'italiana. Then yesterday I posted the first of two Primo courses (the first course, appetizer, starter course), a wonderfully unique Fennel and Blood Orange Salad. All of that was especially easy as there was no cooking involved, The Antipasto was set up before the guests arrived. The salad was simply brought out of the marinade and put into a serving platter to pass. I did start to cook a bit when i made pasta, cooked it, made a sauce and mixed the pasta in the sauce (not as hard or time consuming as it sounds, as it took less than 10 minutes to make the Pepper Pasta With Brown Butter Sage Sauce! Remember, Mise en Place and prep work is your friend as you want everything to run like clock work. I planned to make 2 different Contorni (Side dishes or the vegetable course). Once again, as with the Primo (pasta and salad course) I chose the dishes for a variety of reasons, but center stage was the ease of cooking. I had made a , Potatoes in a Pouch (Patate al forno in un sacchetto). This simple potato dish has several advantages for a party platter. First, they are very tasty. Simply baked in a pouch with sage and olive oil. The extra kick is the raw bacon that cooks and seeps bacon fat into the potatoes as they cook. But the big advantage is that they are another no mess no fuss dish. All you have to do is open the foil, pour them in a serving platter and enjoy. The second Contorni side was a beautiful colorful Swiss Chard with Tomatoes , Pine Nuts and Olives (Bietole con Pomodori, Pinoli e Olive)! It does sound like a lot, and it was. but again, proper planning got everything organized, dishes served timely with a gap of only about 10 minutes between courses.
And serving this was no exception. The Secondo (meat course) and the Contorni (vegetable side dish course) were served at the same time. But the meat was cooking throughout the early part of the dinner. This is a wonderful dish to prepare as it spends most of it's time in a milk bath (well, HOT hot tub really). The only "cooking" that needs to be done is to remove the meat when it reaches the proper internal temperature (please cook this with one of those new fangled CHEAP battery operated remote temperature probe that you insert and watch for th proper temperature... I never have dry overcooked meat cause I do not cook by time, just temperature... But I digress).
Once out of the milk bath, the meat MUST rest for 10-15 minutes before you slice it. This keeps the juices inside the meat making it fork tender and juicy.
As to this beautiful sauce, the milk forms almost a yogurt consistency while it cooks the loin. A quick whisk, a little flour and you have a mustard gravy that was the hit of the evening. In my cooking career I have spent more than my fair amount of time grilling meat. I love it and it tastes great. BUT it does require attention from the cook. Very little time for the whirling dervish that is serving up multiple dishes for a multiple course meal. Cooking the loin in milk for a long amount of time gave me a luxury of time to have everything hot and ready to serve all at the same time.
So, tender, full of flavor and simply amazing... And the timing is a cook's friend. Perfect Secondo for my party...
Roast Pork in Milk
(Arista in Latte)
- Two 1-1/2 to 2 lb. Pork Loin, Center Cut
- 4 TBS Whole Grain Mustard
- 1 TBS Salt
- 2 TBS Freshly Ground Pepper
- 4 TBS Butter
- Up to 3 Cups Whole Milk
- Sprinkling of Flour for the gravy
- Allow your pork to come to room temperature, remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before beginning to prepare.
- Generously rub the mustard on the outside of the pork.
- Season with the salt and pepper
- Over your stove top, on Medium high heat heat a heavy bottomed large skillet (I use my cast iron frying pan for this dish), but you will need a lid, so the largest heaviest pan you have with a lid,
- Once hat, add the butter and sear all sides of the loin. Some (most) of the mustard will char and not remain on the meat and that is fine. It is there to season the gravy as much as the meat.
- Sear each side for only 2 minutes each.
- Once the sides are browned, REDUCE THE HEAT TO JUST ABOVE LOW. You want to slow cook the pork in about 225 degree liquid.
- Add the milk to the pan. This will help lower the temperature of the pan. You want the milk to rise to just a bit above half way up the meat.
- Insert the temperature probe and cover the pan.
- You are going to cook to cook until the internal temperature reaches 120 degrees. Then turn the loin so the part that was out of the milk is now in the milk, reinsert the temperature probe and cook until internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches 140 degrees.
- Remove from the bath, allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 10-15 minutes. The meat will continue to cook for awhile so the internal temperature of the thickest part of the meat is 145 degrees. My total cooking time was about 1 hour 15 minutes, but will vary according to how hot the milk is, type of pan, etc. Cook with a thermometer)
- While the meat is resting, make the gravy. You only want to use about 1 cup of the liquid, but be sure to spoon the thick globules of yogurt that form on the top in that cup. Also all of the mustard and seeds from the whole grain that were chard during the first step should be fished out. There is GREAT flavor in the roasted mustard seeds.
- Add this cup to a small sauce pan and whisk until smooth. If you need to thicken, add a tsp of flour at a time and whisk for a full minute with each tsp.
- After the meat has rested, slice and arrange on a serving platter. Pour the gravy on the slices and ...
- Serve HOT and ENJOY!
And of course, as I said it is very nice to have a meat dish that impresses and still allows the cook time to be a part of the party and still assemble all of the side dishes. Worked like a charm!
Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook! So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!
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