I’ve been on a bit of a chicken quest this past month. I feel like we eat a lot of chicken around here, and I am getting bored with cooking (and eating) the usual standbys.
I do wonder if it’s maybe less of a chicken thing than a winter thing. You know how you greet October by roasting and stewing and slow-cooking and braising the heck out of everything in sight, and then by January you would be happy if you never looked at another stew for the rest of your life? Stew fatigue. It’s a thing.
It’s too early to start anticipating, planning for or even looking forward to barbeque season, I think. In this part of the world anyway. (If you live in California or Australia or somewhere awesome like that, you should probably keep your mouth shut, because cold weather makes people act in uncharacteristic ways.)
So my chicken quest is a bit of a January project to mix things up in the dinner department, and the chicken dinner department more specifically. I stumbled into this chicken adobo idea while paging through Laurie David’s The Family Cooks. I must have read it as “Chicken Adobe” because I envisioned something tex mex with tomatoes and beans or something. But no this is Chicken AdobO, the salty vinegary meat dish oft considered to be the unofficial national dish of the Philippines. (Which makes me wonder if we have a national dish in this country. Poutine, maybe?).
I was skeptical at first, because the ingredient list was small, and the recipe called for the chicken to be steamed (essentially) in the liquid. No searing or anything, which was a bit of a head-scratcher. But I figured that I would take the chance, because if it was good then I would have a good but also exceptionally easy new chicken recipe to add to my list.
You can probably guess how this all turns out. Chicken Adobo marked the culmination of my January chicken quest, and now I am sharing the recipe with you.
The coconut rice is my own signature Chicken Adobo addition. I have been making this coconut rice for years now because, well, what grain doesn’t benefit from a good ol’ soak in 90% pure saturated fat? Years ago we were told this saturated fat was no good (though I made the coconut rice anyway). And these days, this same saturated fat will apparently give us unicorn wings, among its purported benefits. So hey, cook your rice in it. (And your oatmeal too. I do it at least three times per week.)
The creaminess of the coconut rice paired with the brininess of the Chicken Adobo calls for some steamed greens to cut through it all. I love lightly steamed bok choy on the side, but broccoli, spinach, chard, beet greens, kale or even zucchini will do the trick.
- For the Chicken Adobo:
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil (I use avocado oil)
- 1 small onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 inches fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ⅓ cup tamari or soy sauce
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar (white vinegar or rice vinegar will work too)
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- ½ cup water
- Finely chopped green onions
- For the rice:
- 1½ cups white rice (thai jasmine or basmati), rinsed several times
- 1 cup coconut milk (the canned variety, not the watery tetra pak stuff)
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 small pinches sea salt
- For the chicken adobo:
- Heat the oil in a heavy pot (I use my dutch oven) set over medium high heat.
- Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sautee for a couple of minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the chicken, tamari or soy sauce, vinegar, maple syrup and water. Stir everything around a bit, and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat to low, cover and let the chicken cook for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and let it simmer another 15-20 minutes or until the sauce begins to reduce and thicken up a little bit (you don't want the mixture to boil vigorously).
- Check the chicken for doneness, then remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle with green onions, and serve with the rice, spooning the sauce over top for extra flavour.
- For the rice:
- While the adobo is cooking, combine the rinsed rice, coconut milk water and salt in a small pot, and put the lid on.
- Set it over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat to low and steam (don't take the cover off!) until the liquid is all absorbed, about 15 minutes.