“Adobo” is considered the national dish of the Philippines—though it’s tricky to get a handle on what exactly it is, since it takes so many forms in that multicultural society (which blends Asian and Hispanic influences). But the name “adobo”—in addition to appearing on all Filipino menus in the U.S.—is also starting to crop up as a creative-restaurant buzzword here. So it’s time to pay attention. Many adobos in the Philippines start with marinated meat (usually chicken or pork soaked in the fusionist pairing of soy sauce and wine vinegar), then involve the stewing of the meat. In some cases, the stewed meat is served as a stew, and in some cases it is fried and served dry. The following recipe has the best of both strategies: the chicken thighs, after marinating and stewing, are broiled, then re-combined with the reduced stewing liquid. The result is a crispy, wonderfully homey dish with a thin, flavor-packed sauce…and you can do most of the work the day before! I like to serve the chicken thighs in a wide, shallow soup bowl, next to white rice, and then to pour the sauce around the thighs.
makes 4 servings
1/2 cup thin soy sauce
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
8 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons ginger, chopped
1. In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, vinegar, crushed garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and brown sugar. Add chicken and toss to coat well. Cover and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
2. Strain chicken, reserve marinade, discard solids. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, chopped garlic and ginger, cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Return chicken and marinade to pot, bring to a boil, and simmer, covered, until chicken is tender, about 45 minutes.
3. Cool to room temperature. Remove chicken thighs, and bone them, discarding bones. Reserve thighs, covered, in the refrigerator. Refrigerate sauce several hours until fat solidifies, remove fat and discard.
4. When ready to serve, preheat broiler. Place de-fatted sauce in a small saucepan, and boil until reduced by half. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Place chicken skin side up on a sheet pan, and broil until skin is crispy, about 2 minutes. Serve with sauce.