In Philippine cuisine, adobo refers to the traditional method of braising meats (mostly chicken and pork), seafood, and vegetables in a highly seasoned mixture of vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves and black peppercorns. While the type of vinegar used can be a point of debate, it is the main ingredient of this dish. The vinegar, which loses it’s acidity once it cooks, tenderizes the meats and together with the soy sauce combines to add the balanced sweet, sour and salty flavors Filipinos love. There are as many adobo recipes as there are cooks. Some add coconut milk for a richer sauce , while those who prefer a sweeter version add sugar. Some purists omit the soy sauce altogether, while others add annato powder for color.
For tonight’s dinner, Chris did a quick Google search and found a good basic recipe from Foodnetwork.com. This is the style of adobo I am accustomed to eating. I tweaked the recipe below for a little more authentic taste.
adapted from Food Network recipe courtesy of Corinne Domingo
Yields 6-8 servings
4-5 lbs. chicken thighs
1/2 cup Silver Swan brand cane vinegar (available at Filipino grocery stores) or white or rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
8 cloves garlic, crushed, separated in half
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
Combine the chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, half the garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large pot. Cover and marinade chicken for 1-3 hours.
To cook, bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until the chicken is tender. Remove chicken and continue to reduce the sauce over low heat.
In a pan, sauté the remaining garlic until brown. Add the chicken and sauté for 5-10 minutes. Add chicken back to the sauce and let simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve chicken adobo hot with steamed rice.