Milk Braised Pork Shoulder with Yellowfoot Mushrooms

milk braised pork

Photo © Sara Remington courtesy of Viking Studio, The Wild Table

Staffan Terje, chef/owner of Perbacco in San Francisco is a great friend, and intrepid foraging companion and most important here, a man who loves and understands yellow foot mushrooms. He was raised in coastal Sweden by a mushroom-hunting mom. Choosing between his and his mother's many yellow foot dishes was tough, but this pork dish from a pork master won.

The braising melts the mushrooms into a sumptuous sauce. Alongside the pork, pureed potatoes, polenta or pasta would wear this sauce like the fine robe that it is.

Serves 4 - 6

3 pounds yellowfoot mushrooms, cleaned

1 4-pound boneless pork shoulder roast, tied
and ready for action

2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

2 tablespoons pure olive oil

1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch dice

1 fennel bulb, cleaned and cut into ½-inch dice

5 medium garlic cloves, coarsly chopped

2 bay leaves

1 quart milk

1 cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large shallot, finely minced

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Set aside 1 pound of the mushrooms.

Season the pork shoulder generously all over with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 6-quart braising pot over medium heat. Add the pork shoulder and brown evenly, 1 to 2 minutes oer side. Remove the pork from the pot and set aside.

Add the onion, fennel amd garlic to the pot and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the remaining 2 pounds of mushrooms, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Turn the heat to high and cook until any liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the bay leaves. Turn down the heat to low and place the pork shoulder on top of the vegetables in the pot. Pour the milk and white wine around the vegetables. Turn the heat back up to high and bring the liquids to just a boil. Cover the pot and place in the oven. Cook for 2½ to 3 hours, or until the meat is very tender.

Carefully remove the pork shoulder from the pot and hold in a warm place.

Strain the vegetables and the braising liquid through a colander into a large pot or bowl. Reserve the braising liquid. Purée the vegetables using a food mill or a food processor. Whisk the puréed vegetables back into the liquid. Taste for seasoning, adding the salt and pepper as needed. Hold in a warm place.

Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to brown, add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Add the reserved 1 pound of mushrooms, stirring to coat them evenly with the butter and shallot.

Cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to brown.

To Serve:

Remove the string or netting from the pork. Slice and arrange on a platter. Nap the pork slices with the sauce and scatter the sautéed mushrooms over the top. Sprinkle with parsley.

Tips and Techniques

Seasoning the pork shoulder roast with the salt and pepper a day ahead is recommended. Season the meat, place it on a rack in a shallow pan, cover lightly with parchment paper, and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.

Substitutions and Variations

Chanterelles or hedgehog mushrooms can be substituted for the yellowfoot mushrooms.