So I have this friend who has a food blog in this far distant place called Ireland. He recently posted a recipe about some rare, free-range organic pork that can only be found in that special place of the world, and he did a fine job with it! But, today, I am here to tell you about how to cook cheap, non-free-range odd cuts of pork into a delicious meal, which doesn’t require trips to specialty breed organic farmers, meat butchers, and the like. (No offense Conor! 😉 To make amends, I shall lead others to your epic blog —> HERE.)
What I have here are two distinctly generic cuts of pork, one a thick bone-in pork loin, the other, two small thin slices of pork chops. Both of which were purchased then frozen from the 50% off bin. GASP! However, I am a frugal shopper when I want to be.
I adapted this recipe from my Braised Chicken in Milk recipe. Low and slow is the way to go my friends! I selected to eat (after cooking) the thin chops, which I chose to bundle together first to match the pork loin thickness. They were perfectly moist and delicious, as well as a bite I took from my husband’s pork loin was equally moist and tender. However, my husband swears one can never cook a moist and tender pork and even balked at his piece. Nay-sayer! But let me tell you, I will prove him wrong once I buy a sous-vide machine, which is happening in the very near future. I know I keep telling my foodie friends that, but I have to put this nonsense to bed that pork can’t ever be tender. So there.
Now, on to the recipe, which is fantastic (and simple) in my humble opinion.
Braised Pork in Milk with Lemon and Sage over Spinach
3/4 to 1-1/2 pounds pork cuts, even thickness, any kind
Ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste
1 tablespoon real butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup homemade or low sodium chick broth/stock
1 cinnamon stick
Handful of fresh sage
Zest/skin of a large lemon, peeled in thick strips
Handful of garlic cloves, smashed
1-1/2 cups Half and Half or Heavy Cream, plus 1/2 to 1 cup more if needed
4 to 6-ounces fresh spinach
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Season the pork all over with ground black pepper and salt or Mrs. Dash, to taste. Add butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a deep cast iron skillet or Dutch oven and brown on both sides.
Remove from the heat then put the pork on a plate to rest. Deglaze the skillet or pot with the chicken broth, scraping up the browned bits. Add the rest of the ingredients back to the skillet except pork and spinach and stir until simmering.
Nestle the pork into the sauce and place in the preheated oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Turn the pork over and stir the sauce half-way through the cooking time.
When done, remove from oven and remove the pork to a plate and cover to rest again. Add the skillet to the stove burner over low heat, then add spinach, and add 1/2 cup to 1 more cup of Half and Half or cream, if needed. Stir until the spinach is wilted and the sauce has thickened and is bubbling. Don’t worry about any curdling, it’s supposed to do that.
Remove cinnamon stick and lemon rinds from sauce, and garlic cloves if you want but they are yummy! Serve the pork over the spinach on warmed plates, with plenty of extra sauce to coat.