Deceptively simple, this recipe for milk-braised pork chops will pleasantly surprise your family or guests with its rich, complex flavors. It is best made using a pork butt roast but, unless you want leftovers (and the leftovers are delicious), you can make this with a couple of pork loin chops. The results aren't as fall-apart tender as they are using a butt roast, but the flavor is just as good—and the cooking time much shorter.
Braising is a moist-heat cooking method and means cooking meat slowly in some type of liquid in an enclosed pot with low heat. In this case, the liquid is milk, which eventually becomes a sauce. Serve with sauteed spinach and roasted or mashed potatoes for a complete meal.
- 2 (1-inch-thick) pork loin chops
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups milk
- 2 cloves garlic (whole, peeled)
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Generously season pork chops with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet. Add chops and brown on both sides.
Arrange chops in an 8x8-inch baking dish and add enough of the milk so it comes halfway up the sides of the meat. Add the whole garlic cloves and rubbed sage.
Tightly cover baking dish with foil and place in the center of the oven. Cook for 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven, turn chops over, re-cover, and return to oven for another 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, thoroughly mix together the butter and flour (this is called a beurre manié).
Set chops on a plate and keep warm. Pour the pan juices into a blender and purée until smooth.
Pour the purée into a skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Add the beurre manié and continue stirring until thickened. Taste, adjust the seasonings, and serve over chops.
Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients
Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.
About Milk Braising
Most braising liquids include stocks, wine, beer, or just plain old water. Braising in milk exists in many cultures and is thought to have originated in Italy with pork. But, certainly, the technique exists in Thai and other Asian cuisines where coconut milk is used and, undoubtedly, goat milk in Middle Eastern and North African cuisine.
It is believed milk’s lactic acid tenderizes the pork, making it receptive to soaking up the flavors in the sauce. The pan juices become a sort of milk gravy.
A similar recipe that takes much less time is skillet pork chops in milk gravy. The pork isn't braised in the liquid, but the end result is a juicy pork chop with a nice crust that is smothered in a rich sauce.