Leg of pork braised slowly with Chinese mushrooms, garlic, green onion and dark sauce soy until succulently tender.
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I brought this for our new year's eve dinner. Everybody loved it especially my mother-in-law. She even said that this recipe can beat other restaurants' whose specialty is Soy Braised Pork Leg. Just don't get discouraged with the long process, everything is worth it.
Sounds like, as you suspected, that the meat, even though it was from the same cut, was different. The side that had the darker meat, likely had more fat and connective tissue. For more information on this, you may want to review the lesson on "Combination Cooking Fundamentals" — in particular, topic 2 & 3, which talk about "Choosing the Right Meat" and "The Importance of Connective Tissue". Hope that helps. Cheers!
What a mystery...can you provide details on weight of each piece of pork, time and temperature and how you "braised" specifically (if they were well covered, with anything else, etc. ). If they were both loin pieces, they should cook similarly. I hope this helps!