Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Faux Cochon de Lait

Cochon de Lait is a Louisiana specialty.   Renowned Chef John Besh waxes nostalgic about it in this excerpt-
The pig of my youth meant a celebration, a cochon de lait. Some of my favorite childhood food memories surround the slaughter and cooking of the suckling pig for holidays, christenings, or football championships. Read More

While the name translates to "pig in milk" it is actually a roasted suckling pig.  My version is, in fact, "pig in milk".  I braised a Cajun seasoned pork shoulder in cream and milk.  The result is tender, juicy, and spicy shredded pork with a luxurious cream sauce that is worthy of a holiday feast.
Cochon de lait, roasted pork shoulder, big green egg pork recipe, grill dome pork recipe
Served with dirty rice and roasted carrots.
What makes the sauce so decadent is that as the milk/cream reduces, the pork fat renders into the sauce making it liquid velvet. 

This is adapted from a milk braised pork roast that I did last year as part of a cooking lesson from Rouxbe.

Faux Cochon de Lait

by www.nibblemethis.com
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 4 hours

Ingredients (6 servings)
  • 3 1/2 - 4 lb pork shoulder roast (pork butt)
  • 1/4 cup Cajun seasoning this one works
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp xantham gum (optional)
  1. Preheat your grill to 400f and have it set up for direct heat. Once hot, put your Dutch oven in the grill to preheat. (Inside alternative - preheat Dutch oven over med-high heat.)
  2. Season the pork shoulder on all sides with the Cajun Rub.
  3. Add butter to the Dutch oven and sear the roast on all sides until lightly golden brown, about 45 seconds to 1 minute per side.
  4. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, milk and cream. TIP: Cold liquid and hot cast iron don't play well together. Temper the milk and cream by ladling it over the hot roast instead of straight onto the hot cast iron.
  5. Bring to a simmer and cover with lid. Reduce grill temp to about 300f (adjust heat down enough to keep a simmer - try not to boil). Simmer, flipping the roast every 30 minutes, until the roast hits 195-197f, about 2 1/2 hours.
  6. Remove the roast from the Dutch oven and keep warm. Simmer the sauce uncovered for about 20 minutes until reduced and thickened. (Optional - if still not thick enough, take out 1 cup of the sauce, whisk in xantham gum or corn starch and return back to the pot.)
  7. Strain sauce through a sieve. Push any milk solids through the sieve too. If you kept your temps to just a simmer, the sauce should be ready. If it got too hot and boiled, the sauce may have split. Hit the sauce with an immersion blender and that should help.
  8. Taste sauce and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Shred the pork and serve with the sauce on top.
Powered by Recipage

This all started because I had 15 lbs of pork butt in the fridge and I was determined to use all of it for something OTHER than pulled pork for a change.  I also had a pork loin.

I got two boneless shoulder roasts (tied), 3+ lbs of cubed shoulder meat, 4 lbs of meat for curing/smoking my own tasso ham, two pork loin roasts (tied), and 8 boneless loin chops.

breaking down pork
Buying in bulk, minimal meat cutting skills, and a vacuum sealer save money.

I was using a #12 Lodge dutch oven.  A #10 would be a better size for a 3 1/2lb roast.  Whatever size you are using, adjust the liquid depth to be over 1/2 to 2/3rds the height of the roast.

Season it heavily. 

pork shoulder in dutch oven on kamado grill
Sear on all sides, don't forget the ends!

Spooning the milk/cream over the roast helps temper it and season it.

Cochon de lait, roasted pork shoulder, big green egg pork recipe, grill dome pork recipe
I could just drink this sauce as a soup!

This reheats well and leftovers make an incredible open faced sandwich on toasted bread or as a po-boy.  If you like sliced pork, you can pull it at an internal temp of 185-190f and it should still be able to be sliced yet fork tender.

Have you already planned out your holiday menus yet?