Chicken Adobo

I looked in the fridge, and all we had were drumsticks, an onion, and a bag of frozen pineapple. I had just a little extra time before my spouse would arrive home from his 20 mile bike ride, so, seized with a mild feeling of inspiration, I took a shot at this classic filipino dish of comfort food (perfect for old school methods of non-refrigeration preservation).

Based on Chef Buen Viaje’s recipe, one of my sources for inspiration for spam musubi.
Note: might want to start some brown rice cooking before you get to chopping for this!

1.5 – 2 lbs dark meat
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
5 Cloves Peeled Garlic, Minced
About 1 tsp minced ginger
1/2 Large Onion, Peeled and Julienned
1 Cups Soy Sauce (for gluten-free: try tamari sauce)
3/4 Cups White Vinegar
1/2 c Fresh Pineapple, Crushed (used frozen, but I’d go with fresh if I had it in reach)
1 TB Black Pepper
3 Bay Leaves (didn’t have any in the house)

Chop, brown chicken, carmelize onions and garlic, simmer, simmer, simmer.
Chop, brown chicken, carmelize onions and garlic, simmer, simmer, simmer.

1. Heat oil in a large pot and brown each piece of chicken on all sides. Set chicken aside.
2. Add garlic and onions to oil and lightly caramelize.
3. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits.
4. Simmer over medium flame uncovered for about 45 minutes.
5. Serve atop rice (or quinoa, if you’re feeling ascetic).

Before & after!
Before & after!

Novelty Rating: 4 of 5
I can’t believe it took me this long to try making this classic filipino dish. I also can’t believe my spouse just refused to give me his family’s adobo recipe.. so much flavor!
Likelihood of Repeat: 40%
My taste tester was not a big fan of the pineapple (eliminate, or make invisible by mashing?), and expressed a preference for boneless meat cuts instead of drumsticks (I’d go with dark meat since it’s more flavorful). I’m likely to try making adobo again, but maybe a different recipe. Next time I’m also skipping using any garden-fresh tomatoes, since the taste is subsumed by the vinegar.
Lesson Learned: You can actually use this to make TWO rounds of adobo, if your eaters pick out all the meat parts and leave the base sabaw (use a serving spoon to prevent contamination), you can brown more chicken, and simmer it in the broth about 30-45 minutes for another round of adobo! Just don’t forget to cook some more rice too.

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