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Article posted: 1/29/2013 6:00 AM

Milk Braised Pork Loin with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

3 pounds pork loin, cut into 8-ounce pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch thyme

5 fresh bay leaves

2 onions, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch rounds

2 celery ribs, cut into 2-inch sticks

10 cloves garlic, peeled

1 gallon milk

2 gallons pork or chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Potatoes

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

cup cream

1/8 cup butter, unsalted

Salt and pepper to taste

Gravy

2 quarts braising liquid

2 ounces butter

2 ounces flour

2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (optional)

Season pieces of pork loin liberally with salt and refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven 325 degrees.

In an oven-safe Dutch oven, heat olive oil until it begins to smoke. Sear pork loin, in batches, until all pieces are evenly golden brown. Return all pieces to the same pot and add carrots, celery, onion, thyme, bay leaves, garlic, pork stock and milk; season with salt and pepper. Cover and braise 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender. Let rest in braising liquid before serving.

For the gravy: In a blender, puree the 2 quarts braising liquid being sure to include herbs, garlic and vegetables.

In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, add the flour and cook for about 4 minutes or until the roux begins to lighten. Slowly whisk in pureed braising liquid; bring to a boil and cook until the gravy thickens. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

For the potatoes: Place peeled, diced potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water and season liberally with salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat cream and butter together until butter is melted and the liquid is steaming slightly. Drain potatoes. Run the potatoes through a food mill while they are still hot, then gently fold in the cream and butter mixture. Season with salt and pepper. To serve: Remove the pork loin from the braise, place on top of the mashed potatoes and top with gravy. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Serves six.

Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., The Purple Pig, Chicago

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