Scooby Doo. Little House on the Prairie. I used to rush home after school to catch those afternoon cartoons and T.V. shows. I was a total child of the 80’s, and television was part of it. I sometimes did my homework in front of it (promise me you won’t ever tell my children). I somehow managed to productively finish my homework during commercial breaks.
Sometimes I would be feverishly figuring out a set of math problems when I would hear, “Adobo the chicken!” coming cheerfully from the T.V. And I would have to stop.
That was not adobo. At least not to me. The old Goya commercial for Adobo seasoning used to really puzzle me, because my Chicken Adobo did not come from a bottle. I could smell it coming from the kitchen, bubbling in its braising liquid of soy sauce and vinegar, punctuated by heady morsels of garlic. My family’s succulent Chicken Adobo looked nothing like the commercial on the television screen.
Adobo is often argued to be the national dish of the Philippines, and it does not have to be just chicken. You can adobo pork, squid, or even vegetables. Some swear that a true adobo uses coconut milk. Others are soy sauce and vinegar purists.
When my daughter worked on a heritage project a few months ago, she interviewed my father, and I was surprised to learn that his favorite dish is Adobo – with a combination of chicken and pork, and with not too much sauce. Who knew? I actually thought he would name several other dishes before the mundane Adobo, and I really had no idea that he liked a drier version.
Me, I like the sauce. I would actually be very content eating a bowl of rice, swirled generously with Adobo sauce. That is comfort.
Several months ago, I shared my family recipe with my friend Gina of Skinny Taste. I think she did a beautiful job, and her version lightens up my recipe by skipping the extra browning. Don’t you just want to dig in?
Photo courtesy Skinnytaste
When I was craving adobo the other day, I decided to braise some gorgeous French cut pork chops in a potent adobo. Cooking temperamental pork chops in this manner results in succulent, ridiculously flavorful meat – it’s like brining and braising at the same time. My husband boldly declared that they were the best pork chops I have ever made. Flattering as that may be, I can not wait to make my Braised Adobo Pork Chops when my dad visits me this weekend. He will be the true judge, but I suspect that he will wholeheartedly agree.
Update :05.16.11 : I’m happy to report that my father really enjoyed this version of Adobo – maybe a little too much. He couldn’t stop eating!
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Braised Adobo Pork Chops
You can “adobo” nearly anything, but it really is magical with pork and chicken. Adobo works quite well with pork chops, ribs, and short ribs. I do recommend dark meat if you choose to make Chicken Adobo. Please visit Gina at Skinny Taste for my family’s Adobo Chicken recipe.
- 4 french cut pork chops
- 1/3 cup soy sauce*
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar*
- 1 head of garlic, crushed
- 6 ground peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 jalapeno, halved (optional)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
Marinate pork chops in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and pepper, for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Place the marinated pork chops in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over a medium fire, bring to a slow boil, allow to cook through, rotating occasionally. Transfer sauce to a bowl, add oil, and brown the pork chops. Return sauce to the pot, add bay leaves, jalapeno, and water, and continue simmering over low heat until the the meat is very, very tender, about an hour. If the sauce does not completely submerge your meat, take care to rotate the chops periodically. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve over rice.
* If you prefer an even saucier Adobo, by all means, increase the liquid marinade. It’s as easy as maintaining a 1:1 ratio of soy sauce and vinegar.