By Bianca Garcia
During one of our early BOSFilipinos meetings, Leila, Trish, and I talked about our family’s version of adobo. I said my family’s is very vinegary, Trish said her family’s is a little sweet, and Leila said her family’s is pretty balanced, with equal amounts of soy sauce and vinegar. We all said our family’s version is the best.
If you don’t know yet, adobo is any meat or any combination of meats that is are braised and simmered in vinegar, soy sauce, lots of garlic, black peppercorn, and bay leaves. Saveur wrote a good Beginner’s Guide to Adobo. It’s the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, so ingrained in our culture, that just the thought of the fragrant stew can make any Filipino think fondly of home.
One of the wonderful things about adobo is you can alter it in many different ways to make it your own. You can change the ratio of vinegar and soy sauce, you can use different meats (my family’s go to is pork and liver) or vegetables (my favorite is sitaw, or string beans), you can add coconut milk, a little sugar, onions, ginger, hard-boiled eggs, chilies. However way you make it, I’m sure it will be delicious. And pretty soon, you’ll be claiming your version is the best.
CHICKEN ADOBO Recipe by Bianca Garcia
6 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
1 ½ cups vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
10 garlic cloves (around 1 whole head of garlic), smashed
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coarse salt
8-10 dried bay leaves
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
fresh chives for garnish
Place the chicken, vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, and seven of the smashed garlic cloves in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add one cup water, plus more if necessary, to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
Remove the cover and simmer, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and set aside. Increase heat to high and allow the broth to continue simmering.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining garlic cloves. Add chicken and sear each piece on both sides until golden brown and skin is crispy.
Return chicken to the pot, and continue reducing the sauce by simmering for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens to your liking. Serve with white rice, and garnish with chives, green onion, and/or chilies.
If you’d like to read more of my story, check out my post on Filipino Chicken Adobo on Confessions of a Chocoholic.
And If you’d like to explore other variations, check out the following recipes: