There’s something rather special about the rustic simplicity of Tuscan food, and nothing exemplifies that better than this classic dish. Very simple, using just a few high quality ingredients, this isn’t the prettiest dish you’ll ever make, but trust us, it will be one of the most rewarding. Tender, tasty pork and velvety smooth milk curds, brought together with the most sensational sauce.
Traditionally made with pork loin, as the trend for breeding leaner meats continues we find this is best made using good quality shoulder. It won’t slice in the same way, but it will take the cooking technique better and give the deep rich flavour we’re after.
Maiale al Latte
- Large heavy base casserole
- 2 kg Pork Shoulder, boned
- 2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
- 3 tbsp Olive Oil
- 100 g Unsalted Butter
- 2 heads Garlic cut across in half
- 1.5 l Whole Milk
- 1 large Bouquet Garni rosemary, sage and thyme tied together
- 1 tsp Chili Flakes
- 1 whole Lemon peeled in strips and juiced
- 2 tbsp Flat Leafed Parsley finely chopped
- 300 ml Double Cream
- 1 piece Chicken Stockpot
- 2 tsp Corn flour
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Remove the string from the meat, and then using a sharp knife, cut away the skin with a small layer of fat. Rub with a little of the oil, then salt, and set away in the fridge.
- Cut the pork into two pieces, then tie back up and season with the sea salt and lemon juice all over. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour before cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 155C, 145C fan, gas mark 2.
- Heat the oil in the casserole over a medium heat. Add the garlic, cut side down, and cook until brown. Set to one side, then brown the pork on all sides.
- Return the garlic to the casserole, then add the milk, bouquet barni, butter, chili and lemon peel. Put the casserole into the oven, and cook, uncovered, until the meat is good and tender, and the milk has reduced and broken into curds, roughly 2.5 to 3 hours. Turn occasionally so that the meat is coloured on all sides.
- Remove from the oven, and lift out the meat and wrap in foil, shiny side in. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Turn the oven up to 200C, 180C fan, gas mark 4. Place a piece of non stick paper onto a heavy baking tray, lay out the pork skin over, then cook in the oven until golden brown and well crisped, about 30 minutes.
- Fish out the lemon peel, garlic and bouquet garni from the casserole, then use a slotted spoon to remove the curds and set to one side. Skim off the majority of the fat, then add the double cream and stockpot and simmer for a few minutes to bring together. Mix the corn flour with a little cold water, and drizzle into the sauce, stirring all the time, until it's a good sauce consistency. Season to taste.
- Slice the pork and arrange over the top of the curds. Spoon over some of the sauce, then sprinkle over the chopped parsley. Break the crackling over the top and it's ready to go. Serve with a mushroom polenta, the rest of the sauce, and fresh summer greens.