Thursday, June 14, 2012

Filipino chicken adobo



Let's face it... sometimes you just cannot bear to eat another bowl of baby spinach, crunch on another carrot or steam another stalk of asparagus.

Sometimes you just need a punch of flavor and depth from your food, that je ne sais quoi. A sensory overload to give your tastebuds a jolt of pleasure after weeks of dullness, like a dirty dream in a 30-year marriage.

I have already stated that keeping your calorie count low does not necessarily mean boring. Luckily there are dishes that are full of character and tantalizing flavors (remember that ceviche?) without too many calories. Take this chicken adobo: tangy, pungent, briny, delicious. If you are looking for something to make your tastebuds sing, this will have them chanting a cappella. I used low sodium soy sauce and tried to avoid mopping up the sauce with rice to keep it reasonably light, concentrating more on the flavorful meat. My family was only too happy to step in for me.



This dish, that is considered one of the Philippines' national dishes, was originally borne from the necessity to preserve meat in the heat. When the Spanish colonized the islands back in the 16th century, they saw the indigenous population stewing their meat in vinegar and named this technique adobo, after their own tradition of marinating meats, although they have little in common. Filipino adobo is usually made with chicken and/or pork cooked in a liquid made with soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, pepper corns and the key ingredient - vinegar.



I of course fell in love with Adam's version because you know I am always on the look out for an easy week night meal. His recipe, originally from April Bloomfield, requires using large quantities of garlic and ginger skin on, which also makes the former less aggressive. Once the garlic is cooked, it can easily be nudged out of the skin and eaten. The meal comes together really quickly, the only tricky part being browning the chicken, which took longer than I expected and turned out to be a little messy (meaning I had grease splattered all over my stove and counters. Next time I will use less oil). It is however really essential to get those flavors going, so don't skip it.






Ingredients
cooking oil (enough to coat the bottom of your pot)
8 chicken thighs and legs, skin on
2 heads of garlic, separated with skin on
1/2 cup sliced ginger, skin on
1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into eighths
about 1 tsp balck peppercorns
2-3 dried bay leaves
1 1/2 cups vinegar (white wine or rice vinegar)
1/2 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)

Heat the oil in a large pot with a lid over high heat. I used my Le Creuset. When it is almost smoking, sear the chicken, starting skin side down until brown, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Set aside.

Add the garlic, onion, ginger, bay leaves and peppercorns. Cook until the onion starts turning transluscent, then add in the chicken, the vinegar and the soy sauce. Bring to a slow boil, scraping up the caramelized bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Cover and let simmer gently for a little under an hour. The meat will be incredibly tender but rich in color and flavor. Serve with rice.

23 comments:

  1. Healthy and delicious. This seems like a true winner. Thank you for sharing such a lovely recipe. It's only 7:30 AM, and I'm already wishing I could forgo work and spend the day in the kitchen. I hope you have a wonderful end to your week!

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    1. The good news is this dish takes a little over an hour from beginning to end!

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  2. I have been wanting to make chicken adobo for some time now and this recipe is one I would pick because it looks easy and so flavorful!

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    1. That is exactly what I thought when I read this recipe.

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  3. i love filipino food! the names leave me expecting something latin american or spanish, and then it's always some wonderful asian creation! can't wait to try this!

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    1. Hi, glad you stopped by. Hope you enjoy it.

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  4. Hahaha, Filipinos are not known for their health-conscious diet. Their food is amazing though!

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    1. Yes, I have often heard that. But this recipe has minimum oil and if you use low sodium soy sauce all the other ingredients are healthy. I guess it is one of the few!

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  5. This really is such a flavour packed and delicious dish! And I didn't realise that adding so much ginger lessened the garlicness of a dish! :D

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    1. What I meant was, keeping the skin on the garlic, keeps the flavor in the sauce more subtle.

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  6. Sounds very easy and very tasty! Once upon a time I was visiting the Philippines fairly often for work. This brings back some nice memories!

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    1. Did you ever have it there? How was it?

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  7. That looks simply amazing! I cook chicken very often and always try to find new, inspiring recipes. This is one of those. Thanks, Fiona!

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  8. This looks lip smackingly good. Chicken can bore me to pieces sometimes but there is nothing boring about your chicken adobo. I would mop up those juices with some crunchy baguette. Hey, can you email me your NYC dates? I will be gone the first week or so, but then I'll be here, if you have time to meet up, we can do something with the kids!

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    1. We'll be there the last three weeks. Would love to do something together!

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  9. Wow that looks good! And look at how it falls off the bone! I love it!!

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  10. Itching to try this. It was the dirty dream in a 30 year marriage line that clinched it :)

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  11. "tangy, pungent, briny, delicious" = must try!!!

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  12. Giusto... Del buon cibo non vuol dire per forza calorico così come quello sano debba esser triste... Questo piatto è un ottimo connubio... Mi ci vorrebbe adesso!!! Per pranzo sarebbe ideale ;)

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  13. I love adobo, though my only exposure has been through a pork adobo recipe which is seriously not low-fat. This version might be a healthier option.

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  14. I LOVED THIS RECIPE!!! My HUSBAND loved this recipe!! I am making it again for the second time this week! Great with Basmati rice and kale greens on the side.

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    1. You just inspired me to make this again, with basmati rice and kale!

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