Milk Braised Pork Roast

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INGREDIENTS 

  • 2.5-3 pound pork roast  

  • 1 batch LMC basic pork brine (below)

  • 1 gallon milk

  • 1 head fennel, roughly chopped

  • 1 head garlic (sliced in half crosswise to expose the core)

  • 1 lemon, split in half 

  • 1/2 tablespoon peppercorns

  • 2-3 fresh bay leaves

  • 1 small bunch of fresh thyme, bruised 


For the brine

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt 

  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, bruised

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed 

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat 4 cups of water until just simmering. 

  2. Whisk in brine ingredients until sugar and salt are dissolved.

  3. Cool brine completely. 

  4. Place pork shoulder into a large ziplock bag and pour in cooled brine. Try to force as much air out of the bag as possible to make sure that the pork is completely covered in the liquid brine. Let the pork sit in the brine in your refrigerator overnight. If some of your shoulder is not in the brine, just turn it over in the bag every once in a while (2-3 times is plenty).

  5. After a day in the brine, continue with the rest of the preparation. 

  6. Remove the shoulder from the brine and let it rest in the kitchen for at least an hour while you preheat your oven to 325 degrees. 

  7. Place the pork in a deep casserole dish or Dutch oven. 

  8. Add the garlic, fennel, lemon, thyme, bay leaf, and then pour milk into the casserole until approximately half of the shoulder is submerged. Place it in the preheated oven and let it braise uncovered for about four hours. 

  9. Every hour, turn the shoulder over into the milk so that the surface that was exposed to the heat is now submerged in the milk and baste generously.


Note: It doesn’t start out as much, but by the fourth or fifth flip something glorious happens. The milk will eventually break and the meat will start to caramelize. Because the milk separates into fat and solids, the shoulder basically slow cooks itself in flavored fat. I recommend about four hours for cooking time because it will be slightly different depending on your oven. The best way to make sure the pork is ready is to pierce the roast at the thickest point with a sharp knife, if the knife gently glides in and then easily out, your work is done. 

Roasted quince is a great side for this dish, as are figs, fennel, potatoes, or sunchokes.

A FEW NOTES ON BRINING 

This is our favorite simple pork brine, but it is by not a “perfect recipe”. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your liking. 

You don’t need to add sugar to a brine, we just prefer a small amount of sweetness in the recipe. Because this brine contains sugar, the chop will caramelize more quickly that normal. Make sure to keep an eye on this, as an unattended brined pork chop can become burned rather quickly. 

We like salty pork, period. This recipe is based on a 2-3% salt solution, by weight. Taste the brine after you dissolve it in the hot water, if it tastes roughly as salty as the ocean, then this is the “right” amount as far as we are concerned. If this seems to salty to you, just add a bit more water to the solution. 

Your brine ingredients do flavor the meat, so consider this when adding or certain ingredients to the brine. Essentially, a brine is saltwater. Any ingredients beyond just salt and water are only for taste. Peppercorns, juniper, mustard seeds and clove are all common ingredients to add to a brine. We like to keep our brine simple, so that we can adjust the flavor later with finishing seasonings or basting sauces. 

Keep in mind, oily herbs like rosemary and dried spices like juniper and clove have essential oils that become very strong when heated. When using ingredients like these, error on the side of under-seasoning or you risk making your meat taste like a Christmas tree. 

Brining is an traditional method for preservation. Brining slightly increases the “shelf-life” of the meat. 

Pork Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms

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Ingredients 

For the sausage

1 pound ground pork 

1 teaspoon Kosher salt 

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes 

1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds 


For the mushrooms 

8-10 medium brown mushrooms, stems removed 

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon dijon mustard  

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper 


Topping 

2 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs 

1 tablespoon dried thyme 

1 tablespoon parmesan, finely grated   


Directions 

  1. A day prior to making the mushrooms, mix all sausage ingredients and allow seasoning to “cure” the meat overnight (overnight cure step is optional but recommended).

  2. Marinate the mushrooms by mixing them in the oil, vinegar and mustard. Season the mushroom caps on both sides with the tablespoon of Kosher salt and black pepper. Allow mushrooms to marinate at room temperature for about an hour. 

  3. Preheat oven to 375.

  4. Mix the topping ingredients. 

  5. Mound the sausage into the cavity of each mushroom cap. Generously garnish each stuffed mushroom with the seasoned breadcrumb topping. 

  6. Arrange mushrooms in a cast-iron pan or small cookie sheet and bake in 375° oven for about 20 minutes or until the sausage is cooked (145°-155°). 

  7. Serve mushrooms on a bed of arugula, dressed simply in lemon juice, olive oil, and balsamic. Garnish mushrooms and greens with Flake Sea Salt. 

LMC Winter Endive Salad With Bacon, Pears & Pomegranate Cider Vinaigrette 

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INGREDIENTS

For the Salad

1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 

1/4 pound pork or beef bacon, roughly chopped 

2 large shallots, peeled and minced   

3 heads red endive, leaves separated 

3 heads yellow endive, leaves separated 

1 small head radicchio, leaves separated

1 small head fennel, core removed and sliced thin 

1 pear, cored and thinly sliced  

shelled pistachios and zest of one orange, for garnish  


For the Vinaigrette 

1/4 cup cider vinegar 

2 tablespoons spiced apple cider  

2 tablespoons room temperature honey

1 teaspoon salt  

1 teaspoon mustard

1/8 teaspoon sweet curry powder   

1/8 teaspoon cayenne  

1 cup neutral oil like avocado, grape seed, or canola

1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses     


 

DIRECTIONS  

To make the vinaigrette: Combine vinegar, cider, honey, salt, mustard, curry and cayenne in a bowl or blender and whisk or blend on low to combine. If your honey is cold and slightly hardened, just put the mixing bowl over a low burner on your stove while whisking in order to warm the honey enough to incorporate with the other ingredients. 


While whisking or with the blender on low, slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl or blender to emulsify the dressing. When all of the oil is incorporated, whisk in the pomegranate molasses and taste for seasoning.  


To make the salad: Sauté the chopped bacon in the olive oil until it is caramelized, then sauté the shallots in the rendered fat until they are soft and translucent. Set bacon and shallots aside and allow to cool slightly. 


Toss endive, radicchio, fennel and pears in a large mixing bowl and dress with approximately the vinaigrette. Add the bacon, shallot mixture with some of the olive oil/rendered fat (just for flavor) and toss again to combine. Garnish salad with the pistachios and the orange zest. This salad is also excellent marinated in the vinaigrette overnight, or even shredded for a slaw-style salad.

Mussels & Chorizo

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INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon cooking oil, rendered lard or bacon grease 

1 pound chorizo, half separated from casings and the remainder sliced into coins

1/2 large onion, diced 

4 cloves garlic, minced 

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground (substitute ground if seeds are not available)

1 cup light beer (any light lager will work great, enjoy the remaining while cooking:)

1 can stewed tomatoes (10-14oz.)

2 cups shellfish, chicken or vegetable stock 

3-4 pounds California Black Mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded (or fresh black mussels from a reputable fish-monger or specialty grocer)

1 tablespoon tomato paste 

1/4 pound of butter, sliced into pads and kept refrigerated 

Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste 

1 loaf of country-style sourdough, thickly sliced and toasted or grilled 

Italian flat-leaf parsley, watercress, or arugula leaves and olive oil (optional garnishes)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat a cast-iron dutch oven or heavy bottom stock pot with a lid on medium high heat.

  2. Add the cooking oil/fat and sauté the sausage that you removed from the links. Break it up into small chunks with a wooden spoon and allow it to brown slightly.

  3. When the sausage is browned, remove most of it from the pan reserving some of the cooking oil/fat in the pot and set the sausage aside.

  4. Sauté the onion in the cooking oil/fat until it is translucent. When the minced onion is cooked, add the sausage back to the pot.

  5. Add the garlic, chili flakes and cumin seeds and sauté with the sausage/onion until fragrant.

  6. When you smell the garlic and spices, add the beer, stewed tomatoes and stock and reduce just slightly.

  7. Add the mussels and remaining sausage and cover cooking vessel with lid.

  8. Steam the mussels on medium-high heat until they open, approximately 8-10 minutes.

  9. When the mussels are opened, using a slotted spoon transfer them to a large serving bowl and cover with a lid or plastic wrap to retain moisture while you finish the sauce.

  10. Using the released mussel liquor and tomato/chorizo infused broth that should still be in the cooking vessel, whisk the tomato paste and then the butter into the broth to enrich and thicken.

  11. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. This will make a delicious sauce for the shellfish, so if you want more to go around feel free to add a bit more stock or even some water.

  12. Pour some of the sauce over the mussels and any remaining should be served on the side with the toasted bread.

  13. Garnish with the fresh herbs and a heavy drizzle of olive oil.

  14. Enjoy.