This chicken is a real wonder.It fits this 52 $ bill in so many ways! Adobo packs the most punch for the least amount of effort- of any chicken dish I can think of. And cheap? In my book, that means no expensive ingredients.Yep, you start with chicken thighs, a less expensive cut of chicken, and then all you need is vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, garlic and black pepper! I am a real acid lover in food, and my favorite thing about this dish is the vinegar punch coupled with the salty depth of the soy sauce , punctuated by the full flavor of mellow cooked garlic, the spiciness of black pepper, and the floral herbiness of the bay leaves. Each batch I make yields extra sauce- which I freeze and add to the next Adobo (like a sourdough starter.) Because the sauce has alot of reduced chicken juices and collagen, each batch of Adobo is increasingly flavorful. The inclusion of okra and sunchokes makes it hit all the nutritional bases , once it is served over rice or another grain.
In a pot/pots big enough to hold the chicken in one layer, heat some oil. Beginning with skin side down, sear chicken in a little hot oil til lightly browned on both sides, just a few minutes. Add vinegar through garlic , and, if you choose to use them, okra pods and sunchokes (push them down into the sauce.) Bring to a low simmer, partially cover and cook 15 minutes.(Make sure it doesn't boil.) Taste and add more soy sauce or vinegar as needed for balance.Uncover, turn thighs over, re-cover partially and simmer about 15-30 minutes til chicken is done and clear juices run out of center of meat when pierced with skewer.The meat should easily separate from the bone. Remove chicken, okra and sunchokes from pot and keep tented.
Pour sauce into a fat separating measuring cup and pour the sauce back into the saute pan, discarding the chicken fat left in the bottom of the separator. Sometimes, the sauce will be thick enough at this point, but if not: In a bowl, whisk water into cornstarch until it forms a smooth paste (no lumps.) Add a little more water if paste is too thick. Pour half of paste into pan sauce,whisking to combine thoroughly. Bring to boil, stirring, and turn down to low simmer. Sauce should coat back of spoon; if not, add more cornstarch paste, bring to another boil and turn down to simmer. Remove the chicken skin, add thighs and/or vegetables back into pan and spoon sauce over til chicken is hot. Turn heat off and serve on bed of rice or other grains, with abundant sauce.
*Over the years, I have tried many variations of Adobo, but I prefer the balance of the recipe I have developed here. Fyi, you can substitute cider vinegar or cane vinegar 1 for 1, but sherry and balsamic vinegars are too strong to substitute 1 for 1. Because this is the Philippine national dish, there are thousands of variations. Most recipes use 1:1 vinegar to soy sauce; some use more water; some use coconut milk. The same recipe can also be used with pork chops.
Leftover sauce freezes well and is rich with chicken juices and collagen. It can be re-used in a new batch, adding ingredients as needed or water to thin.
I am always on the lookout for innovative recipes, which is why I am just ga-ga over my recently- discovered Food52 with its amazingly innovative and talented contributors. My particular eating passions are Japanese, Indian, Mexican; with Italian and French following close behind. Turkish/Arabic/Mediterranean cuisines are my latest culinary fascination. My desert island ABCs are actually 4 Cs: citrus, cumin, cilantro, and cardamom.
I am also finally indulging in learning about food history; it gives me no end of delight to learn how and when globe artichokes came to the U.S., and how and when Jerusalem artichokes went from North America to Europe. And that the Americas enabled other cuisines to become glorious. I mean where would those countries be without: Corn, Tomatoes, Chiles,Peanuts, Dried Beans, Pecans, Jerusalem Artichokes??!
While I am an omnivore, I am, perhaps more than anything, fascinated by the the world of carbohydrates, particularly the innovative diversity of uses for beans, lentils and grains in South Indian and other cuisines.
Baking gives me much pleasure, and of all the things I wish would change in American food, it is that we would develop an appreciation for sweet foods that are not cloyingly sweet, and that contain more multigrains. (Wouldn't it be fantastic to have a country of great bakeries instead of the drek that we have in the U.S.?!)
I am so excited by the level of sophistication that I see on Food52 and hope to contribute recipes that will inspire you like yours do me.
I would like to ask a favor of all who do try a recipe of mine > Would you plse write me and tell me truthfully how it worked for you and/or how you think it would be better? I know many times we feel that we don't want to hurt someone's feelings, but. i really do want your honest feedback because it can only help me improve the recipe.Thanks so much.