Winter eats: Milk-poached Pork
Allyson Gofton’s ode to slow cooking will serve you well through the darkest winter days.
Marinating time: overnight
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Meat and fish have been poached in milk for centuries, though regrettably it’s not common today. The reaction of milk’s lactic acid on the food tenderises the flesh, making it more willing to uptake flavours, or, as in the case of strongly smoked foods such as smoked fish, helping to mellow the taste. There are a couple of drawbacks to poaching with milk: if the milk is boiled – a far more abrasive method of cooking – the milk will curdle, as is the case when cooking with acidic ingredients such as wine or tomatoes. In some cases, though, this is a desired effect as the milk reduces and the sugars caramelise – the wished-for outcome with this wonderful recipe.
1.5-1.6 kg pork Scotch fillet
8-10 fresh sage leaves
several sprigs fresh thyme
a few small sprigs rosemary
2 tsp green peppercorns, finely chopped, optional
750 ml bottle medium white wine – Riesling is good here
2 L whole milk, hot
2 bay leaves
Herbed Tartare Mayonnaise
2 cups quality tartare sauce
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tsp finely chopped chives or spring onion greens
grated rind of 1 lemon
Place the pork on a chopping board. Use a long, thin, sharp knife to make small cuts over the pork. Arrange the herbs in the cuts and roll the pork in the peppercorns if using. Place the pork in a non-metallic dish, pour over the wine, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, remove the pork from the marinade, discarding the marinade. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and, when very hot, add the pork and brown well on all sides. Transfer to a large deep casserole. Pour over the milk, add the bay leaves and cover. Cook in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
Remove the cover and cook for a further hour or until a thermometer inserted into the pork reads 71°C. This is the perfect temperature to cook pork to medium. For well-cooked pork, allow an extra 10-15 minutes cooking.
Remove the pork from the liquid and place on a plate. Cover and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
While the pork is cooling, make the herbed tartare mayonnaise. Mix together the tartare sauce, thyme, chives or spring onion greens and lemon rind. Cut the pork into thin slices and serve just warm with the herbed tartare mayonnaise. Sauteed potatoes and a simple green salad are perfect accompaniments here.