Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chicken Adobo

A few months ago, during one of those random weekend nights when you have the luxury of having absolutely nothing pressing to do, the decision was made to venture out to a remote part of Brooklyn to give Filipino food a try for the very first time at Umi Nom. There were lots of pig parts on the menu (i.e. pig's ear tacos), which I devoured enthusiastically, but I think my favorite dish of the night was the pork adobo. I loved the way the sharp acidity of the vinegar cut right through the richness of the pork, making it taste clean and zingy. And the falling apart pieces of meat--made tender by hours of braising--were just the thing for a cold winter evening. As I sat there lapping up the last bits of sauce and sucking the bones dry, I made up my mind to try making the concoction myself as soon as opportunity allowed. And now, months later, here it is, folks. My very own chicken version, courtesy of  April Bloomfield's new cookbook, A Girl and Her Pig.

In this recipe, the chicken thighs are browned and then simmered in rice vinegar and soy sauce, along with what will seem like a ridiculous amount of garlic and ginger (which, incidentally are both very good for you!). Your home will fill up with the warmest, most comforting smells, and as you take your first few bites, you will come to see exactly what I mean when I write about the mouthwatering tangle of flavors in this dish. Also, as with most recipes on this site, it's pretty foolproof to execute. Give it a try and let me know what you think. xo

Chicken Adobo
Serves 6
1/4 cup canola oil
5 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken legs and thighs, cut through the bone into 2-inch pieces (you can have your butcher do this)
2 heads garlic, cloves separated but not peeled
1/2 large Spanish onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup thinly sliced skin-on ginger
10 whole black peppercorns
4 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
1 1/2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce

Heat oil in a large Dutch-oven over high heat until it begins to smoke. Working in batches, add chicken, skin-side down, to pot and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to plate and repeat process with remaining chicken.

Add garlic, onion, ginger, peppercorns, and bay leaves to Dutch-oven; cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to Dutch-oven along with vinegar and soy sauce. Increase heat and bring liquid to a boil, stirring and scraping brown bits from bottom of the pan.

Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and easily pulls away from the bone, about 45 minutes. Serve.