Thursday, September 6, 2007

Last Night's Dinner #23: Chicken Adobo & Alfajores

Some may argue but I consider Adobong Manok (Chicken Adobo) Philippine's national dish. The flavor is very hard to describe (savory, sweet garlic, tart & sweet, salty but good salty), the chicken is slowly braised in a vinegar and soy sauce mixture. What's really interesting is that no one family makes it the same way. I don't even make it the same way my mother or my sisters make it. It also seems that everyone has a special trick when cooking - my mom likes hers lighter in color, Karen takes a whiff of her mixture and senses whether it requires more vinegar or soy sauce, I don't stir mine until I see a rolling boil, some keep the lid on the pan to keep the flavors in...

I'm sure you'll eventually come up with your own version (if you don't have one already) but here's one you can start with.

6 chicken thighs
1 head of garlic, smacked with the flat-side of a knife
1/2 cup vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbs black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
pinch of sugar (preferably brown sugar)
2 tsp vegetable or canola oil
1 large potato (optional)

- Heat up oil in a medium pot (medium high heat).
- Add the chicken skin side down. Pan fry for about 5 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add garlic and turn the thighs. Careful not to burn the garlic.
- After 3 minutes add the black peppercorns and bay leaf.
- After two minutes, add in soy sauce.
- Add potatoes on top of the thighs if using.
- Once it simmers, add the vinegar, do NOT mix until it starts to simmer.
- Once it starts to simmer again, stir in water.
- Sprinkle in the sugar then lower heat to the lowest setting and cover with the lid slightly off (see image).
- Allow to simmer for about 30 - 40 minutes, the liquid should reduce to about half.
- Serve over rice.

I'm currently addicted to dulce de leche so I managed to find another dessert that showcases this lovely thick gooey of goodness. I recently found MattBites, an awesome food blog and found a recipe for Alfajores, a traditional Latin American cookie. I couldn't stop eating the cakecookies as they came out of the oven - so good. Just like Matt, I ate too many and got a stomach ache as well!


Homemade Dulce de Leche

Some boil the entire can but I'm too scared to do that. I use the water bath technique. I pour a can of condensed milk into a glass pan and place the pan in a bigger glass pan filled with water. I sprinkle in a pinch of sea salt and tightly wrap it in foil. Bake it for 2 hours in a 425F pre-heated oven. *Check constantly to make sure it doesn't brown too quickly and to see whether or not you need to add more water to the bath.

These are more cakelike in texture, sort of like madeleins. I used a zip lock bag
to pipe in the dulce de leche filling.

See MattBites for full Alfajores recipe.


Tom said...

Just one question - What role does Hillsy play in these dinner preparations? 1. sioux chef, 2. New York Times Critic, or 3. Sampler? For the love of scientologists, my baby sister once poured "trix" cereal on my bowl but nothing like this!

This is a major Alfajores!

Tommy ;-)

Marichelle said...

Hillsy is the official "clean-up crew" of hive central. I hate cleaning up!

Hillsy said...

My role is to generally:

1. Throw things away that shouldn't be thrown away

2. Knock things off the counter, such as highly fragile glasses and plates

3. Spill water over the floor, thus creating a kitchen deathtrap

4. Curse wildly when I can't fit any of the pans back in the same spot that Lifeflix got them from.

Oh the glamor......