A family favorite – lightly seared pork shoulder is braised* in a combination of milk, cream, garlic and rosemary.
To start the pork, preheat your oven to 300º degrees Fahrenheit (150º C). Crush the peppercorns, peel the garlic, and gather the rosemary, salt and olive oil.
Next, rinse and dry the pork. Make sure it is good and dry; otherwise, you won’t get a good sear. Choose a pot that the pork will fit snugly into. There should be no more than an inch or so around the meat, otherwise, you’ll have to use more cream and milk than necessary. Also, check to see that the lid closes properly.
Preheat the pot over medium-high heat. Generously season the pork with the crushed pepper and salt. Press the seasoning into the meat.
Once the pan is good and hot, add the oil. Sear the pork on each side until light golden in color. In this case, you don’t want a deep brown color, as it will darken the final sauce too much.
Once the pork is seared on all sides, including each end, lower the heat and add equal amounts of cream and milk. Make sure the liquid rises to at least two-thirds the way up the pork. If not, add a touch more cream and milk.
Next, add the garlic and rosemary and bring to a simmer over low heat. As soon as it comes to a simmer, cover and place onto a tray, and then transfer to the oven. Let cook for about 2 to 3 hours, turning every half an hour or so.
Note: Refer to the drill-down on Combination Cooking Temperatures. This dish can also be cooked for a longer period of time at a lower temperature.
When turning the pork, it’s best to remove the pot from the oven, so you don’t lose too much heat from having the oven door open.
Carefully turn the pork over onto the other side. Continue to cook and rotate the pork every half hour, until fork-tender.
Once the pork is done, the meat should pull apart easily. Remove the pork from the cream and turn the oven down to warm.
Place the cream onto the stove top and bring to a gentle boil. Let the cream reduce by about one-third to one-half, which may take about 20 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, cut and remove the string from the pork. Break the pork up into pieces, trimming any excess fat, if desired.
Next, place the pieces of meat into an oven-proof casserole dish. Cover and keep warm in the oven, while the sauce reduces.
Once the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, turn off the heat.
Strain the sauce, making sure to press all of the milk solids through the sieve. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the sieve as well to incorporate any solids.
Blend the sauce with a hand blender to emulsify the cream. Return the sauce to the stove over low heat and let reduce further, if needed, until you reach the desired consistency.
To finish, taste the sauce for seasoning, remove the pork from the oven, and pour the cream over top. Serve.
*The term braising is often used for dishes that are technically pot-roasted. Braising just sounds sexier than “pot roasting”. Even though the technique of pot roasting is for large cuts of meat, they are often referred to as braised dishes. In fact, anything cooked in a liquid for a long period of time, is often referred to as “braised”.
Served with a bowl of your favorite noodles or potatoes, and a big salad, this dish is perfect for a family-style dinner.
To avoid splitting the cream sauce, re-heat leftovers over medium-low heat.