Pork Braised in Milk


Slow-cooking pork shoulder in milk creates succulent meat and a silky, caramelized sauce. Unless the dairy curdles. What to do? A pinch of baking soda works as a stabilizer. Serve with crusty bread. Slideshow: More Pork Shoulder Recipes 

Pork Braised in Milk
The late cookbook author Marcella Hazan popularized this Italian method of slow-cooking pork shoulder in milk, which yields a velvety sauce for spooning over the pork and sopping with bread. Photo: Christopher Testani
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
3 hrs 45 mins


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder (3 1/2 pound), tied

  • Kosher salt

  • Pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 4 strips of lemon zest

  • 3 sage sprigs

  • 3 thyme sprigs

  • 3 bay leaves, preferably fresh

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

  • 6 small leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise 


  1. Preheat the oven to 275°. Season the pork with salt and pepper. In a medium-size nonreactive oven-safe pot, melt the butter. Add the pork, and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 minutes. Add the milk, zest, sage, thyme, bay leaves, and baking soda; cover and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the oven, and cook, covered, turning the pork a few times, for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Using tongs, carefully lift the pork and place the leeks underneath. Return to the oven and cook, uncovered, until the leeks and pork are very tender, about 20 minutes.

  2. Transfer the pork and leeks to a work surface. Discard the herbs and zest. Pour pan juices, which may look curdled, into a blender, and puree until smooth. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

  3. Remove the strings from the pork, and thinly slice the meat. Serve pork slices with the leeks and sauce.

Make Ahead

The recipe can be prepared through Step 1 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat before proceeding to Step 2.

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