I first came across this dish while perusing the archives of Ivory Hut. When I saw the word “adobo,” I thought of those Mexican chipotle peppers.
Reading further, I discovered “adobo” also refers to a Filipino dish wherein, according to the Oxford Companion to Food, chicken or pork is stewed in a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic cloves, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Apparently, it’s like the national dish of the Philippines, or something. I’d never tried it before, but it looked good, so I gave it a shot. I’ve made it, oh, three times now, and my family loves it.
I’m not sure if this is how it’s traditionally made, but I’ve gotten such good results from this recipe, I haven’t bothered to look for any others! This is a very convenient dish, too, because it’s a real one-dish… um, dish.
You just dump all the ingredients into the pan you plan to cook it in and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes or as long as overnight. I usually try to give it 2-3 hours. That is, if I remember to put it together in time….
When you’re ready to cook it, just set the pan on the burner and bring to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling nicely, cover it, turn down the heat, and cook for about 15 minutes. Try not to mess with it, unless it starts to boil over onto the stove like mine did… ahem. After the 15 minutes are up, turn over your chicken pieces. Simmer another 8 minutes uncovered then flip the pieces again. Check to see how done your chicken is, then reduce the sauce to the thickness you like. I like mine to be thick enough to really stick to the chicken.
Serve over rice. (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the finished dish.) You can use whatever type of rice you want; I imagine it would be good with fried rice. I like to use a Japanese sticky rice. Yeah, yeah, I know this dish is supposed to be Filipino, but, well, I’m not.
And there you have it: An easy meal with only one (kinda sticky) pan to clean. Tastes pretty good too.
I was planning to post the whole recipe , but I haven’t heard back from Erika at Ivory Hut, so I’ll just post a link for now. http://ivoryhut.com/2010/04/my-quick-and-easy-chicken-adobo/
Update: Well, about 5 minutes after I posted this, she wrote me back! So here you go:
Ivoryhut’s Quick and Easy Chicken Adobo
4 to 5 whole chicken leg quarters, divided into thighs and drumsticks, washed and cleaned, thighs skinned
6 to 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 cup soy sauce (I don’t recommend using Kikkoman for this, but if you have to, use the low-sodium Kikkoman)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (or an additional tablespoon of brown sugar)
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, half left whole, half cracked slightly
2 bay leaves
Using the same pot you’ll be cooking the chicken in, put all the ingredients. Let the chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes, and up to overnight.
When ready to cook, put the pot on the stovetop and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, lower the heat slightly and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes. Remove the cover. Flip the chicken pieces and continue to simmer, uncovered, to reduce the sauce, lowering the heat if necessary. If the sauce is too thick or too salty, add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of water. After about 8 minutes, flip the chicken again. Taste the sauce again and add more water if needed. Don’t worry if you accidentally add too much water—the simmering will take care of that.
Continue to simmer until chicken is fully cooked and has released its oils into the sauce, and the sauce has thickened slightly and taken on a rich, dark brown color.
Serve over jasmine rice, or, for a real Filipino treat, with garlic fried rice.
[Original Author's] Note: I use Filipino soy sauce and cane vinegar when making this. Remember to taste the sauce after about 15 minutes or so of cooking and adjust the seasoning accordingly. Distilled vinegar tends to be sharper, which you can remedy with additional water and brown sugar. If it’s too salty, just add more water.