Serves a Crowd

Turkey Adobo Fried Rice

November 21, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Kevo Rivera
  • Prep time 4 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 6-8
Author Notes

Growing up, our Filipinx-American family’s Thanksgiving table was set with a medley of dishes which were either distinctly Filipinx or distinctly American. Now, I never had any complaints since I still ended each holiday with a belly full of rich and delicious celebratory food. But I’m coming into a season of ushering in new traditions, and I want to create a menu that better reflects who I am: someone who carries my Filipinx and American identities not as two separate entities, but rather different parts to one whole.

Just as turkey is the headliner for the Thanksgiving meal, adobo is the marquee dish of the Philippines. Adobo is made up of braised meat—typically chicken or pork—in a marinade of soy sauce and vinegar with lots of black peppercorn and garlic. There are plenty of variations on the base dish. In this recipe, turkey legs and thighs complement the big flavors in the adobo marinade, which is accented with the sweetness of maple syrup, the unctuousness of coconut milk, and the floral aromatics of bay leaves, pink peppercorns, and star anise.

The dish could be complete after the long braise, but I finish the recipe by shredding the turkey meat and tossing it, along with the adobo sauce, in a mixture of white and wild rice. The result is a delicious Filipinx-American fried rice that really earns it spot at the center of my—and maybe your—Thanksgiving table. —Kevo Rivera

What You'll Need
  • 5 pounds bone-in, skin-on turkey thighs and legs
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns (or black peppercorns)
  • ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 pods star anise
  • 8 pods star anise
  • ½ cups soy sauce
  • cups apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cups maple syrup
  • 1 14-oz can full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 cups day-old cooked white rice
  • 3 cups day-old cooked wild rice
  • coarse kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • neutral cooking oil
  1. Pat the turkey pieces dry with a paper towel and season with salt and black pepper. In a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium-high. Nestle turkey pieces into pot, skin-side down, and brown for 8-10 minutes until skin is golden and crispy. Flip the turkey onto the other side and brown for another 3 minutes. Transfer turkey to a plate and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, lower heat to medium. Add onion and garlic to the oil and rendered fat; season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and scraping up the browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Stir in pink peppercorns, red pepper flakes, star anise, and bay leaves, and toast until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Return turkey to pot, browned skin-side up. Pour in soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup, coconut milk, and 1 cup water (or enough to submerge the turkey pieces with just the skin peeking through). Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, spooning liquid over turkey every 20 minutes.
  4. Increase the pot’s heat to medium high and cook until the sauce is thick and luscious, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.
  5. When turkey is cool enough to handle, remove from the sauce and shred into large pieces with your hands or two forks. Discard bones, cartilage, and stiff tendons.
  6. In a wok or other large non-stick cooking vessel, heat 3 tbsp oil over high heat and add white and wild rice. Stir just enough to coat rice in oil, and then leave rice undisturbed for a couple minutes at a time to get some crispy morsels of rice, 5-10 minutes total. Add in shredded turkey and stir for 3-5 minutes to reheat. Continuing to stir frequently, add some of the sauce into the fried rice, ¼ cup at a time until the rice is coated, but not swimming, in the sauce. Remove from heat when the sugars in the sauce just start to caramelize. Transfer to serving dish and serve warm.

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1 Review

Kevo R. November 21, 2022
EDIT: the ingredients list should read "2 pods star anise, 8 fresh bay leaves."