January 3, 2011

Philippine Style Chicken Adobo

I grew up with mom making her Philippino chicken Adobo quite often. There was always a flavor in the dish that always stood out more than anything else, but as a child, I had no clue what that was. It wasn't until I got older and watched mom cook this dish...I always saw her throw dried leaves into the pot. As I began exploring cooking in my own kitchen, that's when I realized how those dried leaves can alter the taste of any stew and give it that complex flavor. When I think of bay leaves now, I can't help but think of mom's chicken adobo. Mom's adobo was a very stewy dish with the chicken falling off the bones from the long cooking times. Mom always used bone-in chicken thighs with the skin on. This dish was indeed mom's comfort food.

In Filipino cuisine, adobo refers to a common cooking process indigenous to the Philippines. When the Spanish invaded the Philippines in the late 16th century through Mexico City, they found an indigenous cooking process that involved stewing with vinegar. They referred to this method as "adobo". Over time, dishes prepared in this manner came to be known by this name as well.

When I stumbled upon this recipe for this chicken adobo in Gourmet magazine, I was so excited to try it and share with my mom. It's totally different from the way mom cooked her adobo, but I love that it's an easy way to get the flavors of that childhood dish in less time. The vinegar and bay leaf combo gives the chicken a clean tangy flavor. The marinade served over chicken and steamed rice is an ideal pairing.

On a side note - this dish is a family favorite. My 3 year and hubby ask for this quite often.

Pairing Suggestion: A Gew├╝rztraminer or Sauvignon Blanc would be a nice match with this tangy dish.

Philippine-Style Chicken Adobo
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine (December 2002)
Serves 4

1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic (I used 2 tbsp) (What can I say...I'm a garlic lover)
2 bay leaves (I used 1 bay leaf)
4 whole chicken legs (cut into drumsticks and thighs) ( I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs)

Stir together vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a bowl, then pour into a sealable plastic bag. Add chicken and seal bag, pressing out air. Turn to coat thoroughly, then put bag in a baking pan and marinate chicken, chilled, turning occasionally, 2 hours.

Let chicken stand at room temp for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Arrange chicken, skin sides up, in 1 layer in a 13-by-9-by-2- inch metal baking pan and pour marinade over it. Bake in middle of oven until cooked through, 30-35 minutes.

Transfer chicken, skin sides up, to a broiler pan. Pour marinade into a small saucepan and skim fat.
Preheat broiler. Broil chicken about 4 inches from heat until skin is golden and crisp, 2-3 minutes. While chicken is broiling, bring marinade to a boil and discard bay leaves. Serve chicken sauce over steamed rice.