Via Carota’s Famous Braciole al Latte (Milk-Braised Pork Chops)

Redolent of fennel, rosemary, and garlic, this special-occasion main draws on an age-old cooking technique that most Americans overlook.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    2 days


By Jody Williams and Rita Sodi

Published on January 26, 2023

Cooking pork in milk keeps the meat from drying out and accentuates its mild sweetness. When the pan comes out of the oven, the chops are bathed in a highly seasoned, milky sauce. Special dishes often require planning ahead, and like most of our white and lean meat dishes at Via Carota, these pork chops are brined for two days before cooking.

Hearty eaters (and those who love leftovers) should double this recipe.

Featured in “The Magic of the Milk Braise,” by Ella Quittner.


For the brine:

  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 garlic heads, sliced in half crosswise
  • ⅔ cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or a combination
  • 2 bone-in pork chops, about 2 in. thick

For the strutto:

  • 4 oz. pancetta, in thick slices
  • 4 oz. pork fat or fresh pork belly, trimmed
  • 2 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. ground lightly toasted fennel seeds
  • 2 large garlic cloves

For the braciole:

  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup strutto (above)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a knife
  • 8 lacinato kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ¾ tsp. ground lightly toasted fennel seeds
  • 1½ cups whole milk


Step 1

Make the brine: To a very large bowl or container, add the salt, sugar, and 3 cups of boiling water. Stir until dissolved, then add the peppercorns, garlic, herbs, and 6 cups of cold water. Cool to lukewarm, then add the pork chops, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 2 days. 

Step 2

Make the strutto: Using a food processor, blend the pancetta and pork fat to a coarse paste. Add the rosemary, salt, fennel seeds, and garlic and pulse until thoroughly incorporated, 7–10 pulses. (Strutto will keep in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.)    

Step 3

Make the braciole: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400ºF. Remove the pork chops from the brine, pat them dry with paper towels, and bring to room temperature. To a large ovenproof skillet set over medium heat, add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the strutto. While it melts, rub the remaining strutto all over the pork. To the hot skillet, add the pork chops and the garlic and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, turning once, until well browned, about 10 minutes total. (If any loose bits of strutto begin to burn, push them to the sides of the pan.) Add the kale, nestling the leaves between the pork chops, then sprinkle with the salt and fennel seeds and pour in the milk.

Step 4

When the milk boils, transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the pork is cooked to your liking (155ºF for medium well or 160ºF for well done), 12–16 minutes. Return the skillet to the stove, then transfer the chops to a cutting board and tent with foil. Turn the heat to medium-high and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced slightly, 5–8 minutes. Season with additional salt to taste.     

Step 5

To serve, thickly slice the pork chops (reserving any juices), then transfer to a serving platter and top with the kale and milk sauce and any reserved juices.

This recipe is brought to you by SAVEUR Cookbook Club, our passionate community of food-loving readers from around the globe celebrating our favorite authors and recipes. Join us as we cook through cookbooks new and old, and share your food pics and vids on social media with the hashtags #SAVEURCookbookClub and #EatTheWorld.

From Via Carota: A Celebration of Seasonal Cooking from the Beloved Greenwich Village Restaurant by Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, with Anna Kovel. Copyright © 2022 by Jody Williams and Rita Sodi. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. 

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