Anxiety-free Adobo

Welcome to another episode of Philippine Cooking Under Quarantine. Next up is adobo, per my missionary daughter’s request. Adobo is akin to the Philippine national dish. Everyone cooks it and everyone has their recipe. I have cooked it a gazillion times for my missionary and others and yet I had no photos for proof on my Instagram. What? How is this possible?
To rectify the situation, I cooked adobo while my husband and missionary daughter were watching a Book of Mormon video today. Because I knew what my hubby would say. “Jewel. No more cooking. We don’t want to waste food.” And also because I knew, once they were done with the video, it would be too late; the adobo would be well underway.

Of course so as not to attract attention, I did not go to the store for ingredients. I rooted in my freezer to see what meats I could find. My husband likes pork adobo while my missionary likes chicken, so I planned to do the best of both worlds: chicken-pork adobo. You could do only-chicken or only-pork, just adjust the amounts in the recipe.

Jackpot—I found a bag of litson (roasted pig with lots of good fatty pieces) and microwave-defrosted two small packages of chicken thighs from those times when I had extra and which would probably languish in my freezer forever, so see—it’s not wasting food. For the first time since I have owned it, I cooked my adobo in my spacious metal steamer. Why did it take a pandemic to make me try new things?

Once my concoction started making my house smell really good, my missionary daughter asked, “What are you cooking, Mom?” When I told her, she laughed and my hubby said, “Jewel. No more cooking. We don’t want to waste food.” “Don’t worry,” I said. “This is it…for today.”

Anxiety-Free Adobo

1 lb. chicken thighs / wings / drumsticks
½ lb. cut up pork (a fatty cut is best, lean is okay)
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1 tsp black peppercorns
6 bay leaves

In a large and deep frying pan or dutch oven, saute garlic in ¼ cup hot oil, about a minute. Add meat and brown in additional oil, only until garlic starts making your kitchen smell fragrant. Sprinkle with the peppercorn and bay leaves. (I did this for looks, but frankly I don’t know if the looks are worth the work of spitting out peppercorn later, so feel free to use a spice ball.) Add vinegar and soy sauce.

Simmer for 45 minutes until the meat is tender, turning over the meat periodically to make the color even. Optional: for added protein and to dress this up, add peeled hard-boiled eggs in the last five minutes, basting the eggs with the sauce. Serve over rice. Makes 6 servings.