Google the word "adobo" and you'll end up with links to everything from chipotles to Mexican restaurants. But today we're cooking Filipino adobo, which is a cooking technique unto itself. In The Adobo Road Cookbook, Marvin Gapultos shares more than a few recipes for adobo, each showcasing a different meat or vegetable. According to Gapultos, adobo must contain vinegar, bay, garlic, black pepper, and plenty of salt or soy sauce. While many of his recipes stretch further than this basic lineup, his classic chicken adobo is the perfect example of the simplicity of this potent combination of ingredients. Meaty chicken thighs are braised in just those basic five components (with soy sauce instead of salt) to emerge tender, tangy, salty, and slicked with their own fat. This is Filipino cooking at its finest.
Why I picked this recipe: I couldn't cook from a Filipino cookbook without trying an adobo. This classic recipe seemed the best place to start.
What worked: It is amazing how good the simple mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and chicken fat can be. I was slurping up this sauce with a spoon.
What didn't: By the time I had the sauce reduced by half, the chicken was a little overcooked (granted, these are thighs, so they still taste good when a bit overdone). Next time, I'll pull them out while reducing the sauce and then return them to the pot for a final glaze before serving.
Suggested tweaks: This simple braise could work for just about any protein or even hearty vegetable. Keep in mind that tougher cuts of meat will take longer to braise, while more tender items like carrots or other root veggies may take less time.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.