In keeping with my non-resolution for the new year, I made something brand new this week, something I have been meaning to make for ages: chicken adobo.
I got the tip-off about this article in the Times from my cousin Joaquin a few days before I saw it in print. By the time that rolled around, I was already committed to making the recipe.
I've made soy sauce chicken dozens of times, which I always think of as similar to adobo--both have that winning sweet-salty combination. But adobo leans heavily on the vinegar. While it does mellow a bit through simmering, you can still taste a little sharpness. I like it.
One thing I left out of this recipe was the chilies. I actually meant to include them--at least one or two--but the store I went to only had big chilies, like anaheims. I actually bought one of these, shrugging to myself in the grocery aisle that what difference would it really make (a lot? none? who cares? I was feeling cavalier), but strangely, when I got home, the chili had escaped my grocery bag. Ran for its hot little life, I guess. So I made the adobo chili-free, which, I have to confess, was fine for me and the husband, as neither of us really goes for the hot food too much.
I loved this recipe. It ended up being a combination of soy sauce chicken and fire and smoke chicken, another favorite. It was my first time working with coconut milk, if you can believe it, and I was a little appalled opening the can. I had neglected to shake it and it stared up at me in a giant clumpy paste. But I turned it out into a bowl and whisked it up a bit which helped considerably.
Not only did I enjoy the flavors of this chicken (marinating for a few hours does wonders), but I have to say it beat my soy sauce chicken in the texture department. After you simmer the chicken for 30 minutes or so, you pull it out and broil it while reducing down the sauce. You may notice that I got a little distracted and let the skin get a bit darker than I might recommend. I forgot how rapidly the broiler can take something from crispy to burnt.
In any case, the chicken was delicious served with plain rice and stir-fried bok choy. The next night it was even better, though, in part because the flavors had further developed, and in part because I made fried rice with the remaining rice, and it's hard to beat any dinner that contains homemade fried rice. I'm sure you'll agree.