Friday, May 11, 2012

Chicken Adobo

Not for the faint of palate, the cheapest chef's latest entree is an intensely flavored Filipino classic. I've read about Chicken Adobo and was curious about combining it's two disparate fermented marinade ingredients: vinegar and soy sauce (plus a whole lotta garlic.)

Adobo is Spanish for marinade and Filipino cuisine has given it's Latin influence Oriental flare. Extreme sourness from vinegar mixed into salty fermented bean soy sauce is one heady flavor bomb. Instead of clashing they actually compliment each other. And as the pieces of chicken braise, the marinade is mellowed even more.

Chicken Adobo can be made with any cuts of chicken you can get on sale, including wings, legs and thighs. I got a whole chicken (for 77 cents per pound) and mixed in a bit of dark and white (and with the other chicken half I made a Jambalaya, recipe here.) The marinade ingredients of soy sauce, vinegar and garlic are certainly cheap enough.

  I looked up a few recipes and many of them called for letting the chicken pieces marinate in a mix of vinegar and soy sauce overnight. You can do this, but I found the flavors so intense that just braising was good enough, and after 20 to 30 minutes the marinade reduces by half, giving you an intensely flavored sauce. Chicken Adobo is typically served with rice.

And, bon appetit or Kainan na!

 Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 3-4 pieces of chicken - I used 1/2 breast, a thigh, and a leg.
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce - Any brand, but I would lean toward a low salt.
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar - I used white vinegar, but any type will do.
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped garlic - fresh or from jar
  • 2 tablespoons of oil - one for garlic, and one for sauteing chicken.
  • Black pepper to taste - optional. No salt necessary, as soy sauce has plenty.
If you want a more intense and traditional Chicken Adobo, mix garlic, water, soy sauce and vinegar in a bowl with the chicken. Coat the chicken on all sides and cover to marinate overnight or at least a couple of hours. Or, skip this and go right to the following paragraph -- the marinade is certainly strong enough to just go right to braising.

If you want to serve this dish with white or brown rice then start it and follow the package directions.

In a pot or pan add oil and garlic. Over a medium heat lightly brown the garlic -- should only take a couple of minutes.

Next add chicken pieces and the marinade of water, vinegar and soy sauce. Mix well and turn up heat until liquid just starts to boil. Immediately reduce heat to a low simmer and cook chicken 20-30 minutes uncovered, until done. Pierce the thickest part of the chicken to make sure juices run clear.

Turn the chicken a few times during braising so all sides cook in the marinade. Check on the dish every ten minutes to make sure liquid doesn't cook out. Add a 1/4 cup of water at a time if it gets too low. You want the marinade to reduce by about half, as chicken cooks.

I went one extra step. When the chicken was done, I put it into another heated saute pan (with a tablespoon of oil) and crisped the chicken skin for about 5 minutes. You could make the dish with skinless chicken and skip this step.

Serve over rice, a favorite veggie side, or salad.


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