The Philippine classic has been called the best chicken dish in the world by a number of friends of mine." He uses the basic Filipino adobo ingredients and finishes the dish in the grill (or broiler) after boiling in the vinegar mixture for 30 minutes. The grilled flavor and the crispy skin and meat make the chicken adobo really special. I altered his recipe a little bit by using only half a cup of soy sauce and adding 1½ tsp of sea salt and half a cup more of water. I also used the dark (cane sugar) vinegar from the Philippine Ilocos province which gives the dish a hint of sweetness and a fruity flavor. I will definitely add this recipe to my growing Adobo recipe collection for my ADOBO COOKBOOK. The dish also gave me an idea to adobo-marinate other meats such as baby back ribs or thin sliced pork belly, then grill directly without boiling them first.
Mark Bittman's Chicken Adobo
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup white or rice vinegar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (3 - 4 pounds) chicken, cut up, trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry with paper towels, or use 2 pounds bone-in thighs
- Combine the first six ingredients in a covered pot large enough to hold the chicken in one layer. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken pieces, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, turning once or twice. (You may prepare the chicken in advance up to this point; refrigerate the chicken, in the liquid, for up to a day before proceeding.)
- Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill or broiler. The fire need not be too hot, but place the rack just 3 or 4 inches from the heat source.
- Remove the chicken and dry it gently with paper towels. (My note: Remove excess fat before boiling sauce.) Boil the sauce over high heat until it is reduced to about 1 cup; discard bay leaves and keep the sauce warm. Meanwhile, grill or broil the chicken until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes per side. Serve the chicken with the sauce and white rice.