Friday, 27 July 2012

Recipe - Chicken Adobo

I first heard of chicken adobo two summers ago. That summer is also known as 'the worst summer of my life'. Occasionally, I get flashbacks to a particularly bad time from that summer and think a combination of 'oh man that was god awful I was like a zombie' and 'I am so pleased that that time is over and gone and never coming back'. Part of what made that summer bad was the fact that I had for company only four people I kind-of knew and one misery maker. So I spent most of my time with the four people who I kind of knew and ran away to cry (literally) at the weekends. I would say that as a result of that summer, I know them all properly and really quite like them all even if I haven't really seen much of any of them since then. But one of them is permanently sealed as first text on my phone. THANKS, CLINCH. So, anyway, two of these people went rice-cooker mad because college had forgotten about us and let the kitchen get to a such a horrible state that there were maggots and flies everywhere so understandably, using the kitchen didn't seem like very much fun. So they used the rice cooker instead! They cooked all array of delicious treats in that rice cooker. I never believed it would work yet it always did. One of those delicious treats was chicken adobo. I was cooking chicken with forty cloves of garlic for my visiting guests and it was taking forever and we were really hungry and they kindly let us try some of their chicken and it was so juicy and great and god, I was so hungry. But then our chicken finished cooking and was also delicious and I used the leftover garlic-infused olive oil to make garlic mayonnaise and felt very Nigella. Anyway, I was surprised by the tastiness of the adobo. Not because I judged these then-sort-of-friends as incompetent (although I did consider myself more competent which was probably correct for one of them and definitely not for the other) but because chicken stewed in vinegar and garlic doesn't sound very tasty. INCORRECT. It is lovely and juicy and sour but sweet and perfect. But that isn't how I felt about it half way through cooking it last Tuesday. But then I tweaked it to my tastes and everything was great. Here's the recipe.
Chicken adobo
500g chicken thighs, skin removed
2 medium onions, finely sliced
1 bulb garlic, skin removed, cloves coarsely chopped
1.5 inch ginger, finely chopped
50ml soy sauce
100ml malt vinegar
7 peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar (optional)
2 potatoes, peeled chopped into mouthful-sized pieces

In a little non-flavoured oil (I used vegetable), brown the chicken well on all sides. This took me about 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pan and reduce the heat.
Add the onions, garlic and ginger to the pan and fry gently until very soft and starting to caramelise (about fifteen to twenty minutes).
Increase the heat slightly and add the potatoes. Fry for two minutes.
Add the bay leaves and peppercorns.
Add the soy sauce and vinegar.
Return the chicken to the pan and bring the mixture to a simmer.
Once simmering, reduce the heat right down.
Leave to cook, uncovered for about 30 minutes.
After that time, taste the sauce. If too tart for your liking (as it was for mine), add 1 tsp of sugar.
Add a splash (about half a tumbler) of water and cover.
Leave to cook for another fifteen minutes.
After fifteen minutes, remove the lid and check the taste and consistency of the sauce. Once reduced to your liking, remove from heat.

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