The Kitchen Has Re-opened…

THE WEEK FROM HELL.  That “cold” that led to Ken’s making the sour cream noodle bake turned into a non-stop barrage of coughing by Tuesday night.  To the point that I was creating my own OTC drug cocktails of Delsym, Tylenol, and Mucinex in an attempt to get some sleep.  All to no avail; coughing every fifteen to thirty minutes– ALL DAY AND NIGHT.  My mom, thankfully, held down the fort, but the family has been in a nutritional wasteland of Chinese takeout and pizza (she will tell you she’s a physician, not a cook, and in her defense she’s EIGHTY years old)– and I thought she was moving in with us so we could take care of her!  On top of it all, Ken came down with a fever and had to miss school on Friday.  I’m so thankful to have my mom here; it would have been a tough week without her.

My mom’s diagnosis (“you have allergies now”) was confirmed by a visit to my own FP.  After a few doses of Zyrtec, the frequency of my coughing attacks has decreased to every hour vs. every 15 minutes and I’m only a half-zombie today. Ken was fine after a couple of doses of liquid Tylenol and a day in bed.

I’m not sure I will make anything fancy today (I did make biscuits with sausage gravy for breakfast, but I already posted about gravy-making).  However, I am posting what I had prepared for Tuesday, but didn’t publish because I went to lie down a bit but never got up.  Originally titled “Masarap!” which is Tagalog for “delicious.”  Hope you enjoy!


The rain clouds have finally drifted off to someone else’s state and it’s cool and clear in Northern Virginia.  Perfect weather for a hearty pot of something hot.  Redolent of meat simmered long and low, aromas so distinct that my guys will know instantly as they walk through the door what they’re having for supper, and will shout out “So what time are we eating?”  They know it’s delicious– “masarap!”

I’m talking about Pork and Chicken Adobo.  NOT Goya-Adobo-spice-mix adobo, but it is a stew, vinegar-based, a national dish from the Philippines.  It’s a dish I can make in my sleep; it’s comfort food, party food, I-love-you-so-I-made-you-this food.  I have never witnessed disappointment in any person who has ever tried even just a taste; they only request more, until they’re at last ladling the remaining bits of sauce of meat onto tiny piles of rice.  It’s that good.

So I’m going to share the recipe for this dish with you now along with a few photos of how I make it.  Serve it with jasmine rice which has its own tantalizing aroma and is a little stickier than Basmati.   You’re eating Filipino, not Indian food!  (And yes, like every first generation Asian American, I have a rice cooker, so I don’t know how to make rice in a pot– you’re on your own for that).

Note:  I recently switched from using regular (e.g., Kikkoman) soy sauce and cider vinegar to the authentic Filipino products.  My little town has a huge Korean population, so there are Asian food markets everywhere.

Available at Asian markets

The Filipino soy sauce is much less salty than Kikkoman and the cane vinegar much less acidic than cider vinegar.  I’ve included measurements for both sets of products.

Pork and/or Chicken Adobo

4 lbs of pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch chunks or combination of pork and chicken drumsticks/thighs (bone-in)

1 cup of Filipino cane vinegar (Silver Swan) or 1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup Filipino soy sauce (Datu Puti ) or 1/4 cup regular (e.g., Kikkoman) soy sauce

8-10 peeled, smashed garlic cloves (do not put through a garlic press, just smash to remove peels)

2 tsp black peppercorns

1 star anise (optional)

4 bay leaves

My mise en place.  There was no boneless pork shoulder (aka Boston butt) in the store, so I had to break down a small shoulder roast.  I will use the bone for a soup and most likely fry up the skin as chicharone (yum, fried pork skin).

Very few ingredients

Put the spices in the bottom of a heavy pot (note the patina in my very old Le Creuset),  I didn’t have any star anise, oh well.

Who doesn’t like garlic?

Add the vinegar and soy sauce.

Cane vinegar and soy

Toss in the meats.  Mix with your hands to combine.  Then marinate at least two hours, but not more than six.  Stir periodically to ensure even distribution of flavor among all that meat!

Clean hands– a cook’s best tools!

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Fill the pot with water to barely cover the meat, e.g., the meat peeks through the liquid.

Make sure the meat peeks through!

Bring the pot to boil over the stove, cover and place in the preheated oven.  Braise for 1 hour at 300 degrees, then turn down oven to 250 degrees and continue cooking for 30 minutes more.

Remove pot from oven. Transfer meat to a tray, removing any peppercorns. Pour the liquid from the pot through a strainer into a large bowl. Return the liquid back to the pot.

Meat removed from pot, liquid strained

Bring liquid to a boil. Reduce til sauce has thickened to your liking.

While liquid is reducing, heat a non-stick skillet with olive oil over medium high heat. When hot, fry the meat til browned. Set aside.

Brown = FLAVOR!

When sauce has reduced to the consistency you want, return fried meat to the pan. Heat through if necessary. Serve with jasmine rice.


Take a bite and shout, “Masarap!”



Filed under Family, Food, Main Dishes

2 responses to “The Kitchen Has Re-opened…

  1. Looks like a great recipe for adobo. I like Filipino soy sauce better. It has a smoother taste. I never had adobo with star anise, but I will give it a try. 😀

    • For years, I used Kikkoman soy, but I agree, the Filipino soy sauce is way better. The star anise addition is from one of my aunts– give it a try!
      Thanks for reading!

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