Today’s journal entry is about a dish I cooked yesterday called Maiale al Latte, pork braised in milk. I read about this in Michael Pollan’s book, “Cooked”, in the chapter that talks about braising and what actually happens during this cooking process. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical at first because the traditional bolognese style of this dish only has three ingredients, and pork isn’t exactly my favorite meat. I followed Marcella Hazan’s recipe because I wanted to see what the least amount of ingredients would taste like. I like how Michael Pollan broke down the different steps of braising meat in his book and described how this affects the taste. Browning the meat in a bit of butter starts the Maillard reaction or caramelizing the proteins and fats. Gently braising the meat, with only the bottom part submerged in milk coaxes out the flavors from the pork and infuses it into the slowly forming curds while the top part continues to caramelize slowly. The fats are rendered further and incorporated into the meat and broth and the meat becomes very tender over the next few hours. So tender that they’re falling off the bone.
It was so easy to make, but it takes a long time to cook. In fact, time is the fourth ingredient that one can’t afford to scrimp on. The resulting dish was really amazing. I’d love to cook this again soon.