ADOBO: THE RECIPE
In a medium sized bowl add equal parts of cider vinegar, soy sauce, and water. I use 1 cup of each. Adjust amounts to your desired taste. You should be able to clearly taste equal amounts of both the vinegar and the soy sauce. I like to make a lot of the liquid mixture, because I love to pour it over my rice. Mix in 2-4 (or more) Tablespoons of paprika. The paprika will give good color to the adobo and round, [or mellow] out the intensity of the vinegar and soy. In a large heavy pot or skillet brown meat of choice. If using chicken season with salt and pepper and brown, starting with the skin side down. I usually use 8-12 thighs. Figure 2-3 thighs per person. Brown on all sides and set aside. If using pork I like to use a shoulder roast. Cut pork into 1" cubes season with salt and pepper and brown well on all sides. I usually consider 3-5 oz. of boneless meat per person. Set aside. In a large stock pot add a little fat and slowly cook an entire head of chopped garlic over mediun heat. Add the browned meat to the pot and pour the vinegar mixture over the meat. Add a small hand full of freshly cracked black peppercorns. Cover and simmer until meat is tender. Skim off any excess fat and serve with white rice. Adobo, if there is any left, is even better the next day.
This is something that everyone in my entire family makes. Imagine all those slightly unique nuances in my family alone! Aside from scrambled eggs it seems that you are christened an official cook in my family once you first make adobo. There are "out-to-jury" debates still up in the air whether you should add pickling spice or not. Truthfully, sometimes I add it and sometimes I don't.
Adobo is traditionally served over or with rice. The ingredient list is simple. All of the ingredients are staples that almost everyone has in their pantry. This is a dish that can be made quick or slow. That is one of the great things about it! I have made this tangy soupy Filipino dish for many of my friends over the years and like my mothers chili the initial reaction in always something to behold!
First of all, there is an amazing combination of smells when you walk into a house where adobo is being made. Because one of the main ingredients is cider vinegar. One can not help becoming overloaded by the pungent aroma of vinegar. Along with the aromas of garlic and soy sauce it simply is a symphony to your sense of smell.
The spices are simple as well. Salt, freshly cracked black peppercorns, garlic and paprika are all you need to make this wonderful dish. At first taste most people are overwhelmed by the sharp flavors, but after the flavors start to roll around the palate, the complexity starts to reveal its unusual composition.
Adobo can be made with chicken. It is probably the most popular. Any and all parts of the bird can be used. I prefer using thighs, because I am a huge fan of the dark meat of chicken. For me, the breast has a tendency to become a little too dry, and legs are just too much work. Over time I suggest that you try all different cuts of the bird to find-out what you like best.
Pork is the other meat of choice to use for adobo. If you are a true Filipino than you know that beef is never used to make adobo. My grandpa use to make it in his restaurant, but it is unusual. It is good and you can be done, but like I said, "you just don't do it!" I think that the reason for not doing it is because the vinegar has a tendency to really dry-out the meat.