(pork loin braised in milk)

This is one of those dishes where you've just got to invoke what English majors call "the willing suspension of disbelief." I had a heck of a time with my wife, a dairy farmer's daughter who's very suspicious of milk because she knows too much about where it comes from.

But Marcella Hazan is right when she notes that, "Whenever I teach this dish I am greeted by more or less polite skepticism, which usually turns to enthusiasm at the first taste. Pork cooked by this method turns out to be exceptionally tender and juicy. It is quite delicate in flavor because it loses all its fat and the milk, as such, disappears, to be replaced by clusters of delicious, nut-brown sauce."

It's remarkably easy, although it does require fairly regular supervision.

In a heavy saucepan, pot or casserole just large enough to hold the meat, brown a 2-pound boneless, tied pork loin in about 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil with a fat clove of smashed garlic. When the pork is well browned, pour off most of the oil and add 2 1/2 cups of whole milk. Bring it to the boil (carefully, it's likely to boil over when it first foams up), then add 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper; turn heat down to medium-low, and cook, loosely covered (lid askew) for about 2 hours or until the pork is very tender. You'll want to stir and turn the meat frequently. The pan liquid will appear to curdle at first, then gradually reduce and turn brown; at the end of cooking, there should be only a little liquid left. Remove the meat to a platter, slice it, and increase heat to reduce the rest of the liquid as the remaining, cheese-like curds turn a rich nut brown. Serve with the reduced sauce atop the meat or in a bowl on the side, or as gravy for mashed potatoes ... delicious!

Despite Marcella's claims about the fat "disappearing," this one's no low-cal treat. But it's good, so good that my wife the dairy-farmer came back for two or three servings and consumed more than her share of the sauce. :)

It also went extremely well with a moderately priced White Burgundy. The rich, full-bodied wine made a perfect foil to the rich meat and sauce.