For one of the very first food stories I ever wrote, I interviewed a woman living in a halfway house where formerly-incarcerated parents stayed while working to regain custody of their children. The residents, adults and their kids, shared the duties of the house, including cooking. As a volunteer, I often taught cooking classes there, but on that day I was the student, and the lesson was a Puerto Rican-style pork adobo. It was very similar to this recipe from The Philippines, both with vinegar as the base of the stewing liquid. Adobo originated in Spain, and Spanish settlers (adventurers? conquerors?) brought it to other parts of the world, where each region put its own spin on the basic marinade. In this slow cooker version, the meat marinates as it cooks. Most chicken adobo recipes call for a whole chicken, cut up and cooked on the bone, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs work perfectly. Serve over steamed rice.
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Adapted from The Gourmet Slow Cooker Volume II. Serves 4.
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
3/8 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp ginger paste or grated ginger root
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1-1/2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot
3 Tbsp chicken stock
Sliced scallions, for garnish
2 cups cooked rice, any type, for serving
In a 3- or 4-quart slow cooker (Crockpot), place the chicken pieces, and add the garlic, bay leaf, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, pepper, and brown sugar. Stir to combine, set cooker to HIGH, and cook for 3-1/2 hours (you can also cook on LOW for 7 hours). Stir the cornstarch into the chicken stock, and add this slurry to the slow cooker. (If you have been cooking on LOW, turn the cooker to HIGH.) Stir, and cook for 30 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the chicken practically shreds on its own.
Serve over rice, garnished with scallions.
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Marketman's best adobo, from Market Manila
Pork adobo, from Appetite for China
Grilled adobo chicken (pollo adobado), from Andrea Meyers
Chicken adobo in coconut milk, from Apple Pie, Patis, and Paté
Adobo fried rice, from The CookMobile
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