Yesterday, I had my little cousin’s birthday party to go to (she’s turning 4) but since I’ve already talked, in length, about my lack of time due to my midterms (and yet I still am finding the time to blog) what can I cook quickly with little/no effort?
I didn’t have to cook dinner considering we were going to the birthday and we were intending to chow down (yay pork bbq, lumpia, and pancit!) but the issue was that I needed lunch for the next two days since I’m planning on making the fish meal tomorrow and I don’t make extra servings of fish (I’m not a big fan of it freshly cooked, I definitely don’t want it leftover).
I also had a whole chicken that I had defrosted in the fridge and that needed to be used. Hmmm, whole chicken + no effort = slow cooker meal! And I guess since I had Filipino food on the brain knowing what I was about to eat later on, I decided to make my version of Chicken Adobo.
Here’s the deal, there are a vast number of different varieties of Filipino adobo. Some are purists and only do soy sauce and vinegar, others add ingredients ranging from coconut milk, to chilies, etc. This is just how I usually do it, but my way probably isn’t traditionally “right” (considering I’ve never had anyone teach me how to make it) so if my way isn’t the way you/your family has always done it, I’m adding this disclaimer in advance.
Side note – I was browsing adobo recipes to see how other people do it, and Giada De Laurentiis has a version too. How random is that, considering she specializes in Italian preparations?
So I woke up at 7 and jumped in the shower (after
suckering getting my loving husband to break down the chicken into parts for me and de-skin all the pieces; how cute of him to help me knowing the time constraint I’m under with all my midterms…and yes he does read this blog but I swear I would say that anyway), I quickly got dressed/ready and headed to the kitchen to throw it all together.
A note on the vinegar I used – I know it’s kind of cheating, but I wanted as little time and effort expended on my part as possible, so I used Pinoy Kurat Spiced Coconut Vinegar (and no, unfortunately they’re not paying me to endorse their product). I bought this at CAM in Reading. If I was doing this the longer way, I would have sautéed my chicken in the pan with onion and garlic, and then braised it in the soy/vinegar mix with some crushed red pepper thrown in (I like it a little spicy). What’s that you say? This vinegar has all of that already in it? Perfect. So if you don’t have this vinegar, no big deal. Just use whatever kind of vinegar you like (I usually like to mix rice vinegar and white), the only important thing is to actually have the soy and vinegar.
Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo
Serves 4 – Time: 4 – 5 hours
- 2/3 cup Lite soy sauce (the lower sodium kind since I’m trying to be healthy and cut back on salt)
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- Sugar – completely optional. Some people like it sweeter, some don’t. If you use the spiced vinegar only use either 0 to about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar (since it has a bit of sugar in it already). If you don’t use the spiced vinegar, then go anywhere from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon.
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 whole black peppercorns
- 2 – 3 teaspoons of cornstarch (if you want your sauce thicker use more cornstarch, if you want it thinner use less or don’t use any at all)
- 1 (3 – 4 lb) chicken – broken down into 8 parts and de-skinned (you don’t have to de-skin your chicken if you don’t want to. I understand and love the deliciousness of chicken skin, but in the interest of cutting back calories/fat I use skinless parts. Just save the leftover skin in the freezer and use it to make stock)
- Optional – If you’re not using the spiced vinegar, you could throw in garlic, ginger, onion, chiles, etc. whatever you like. The best part of adobo is other than following the basic guidelines, every family has a slightly different recipe they prefer.
**A note on the balance of soy sauce and vinegar. Some people like their adobo sweeter, some like it a little more tangy. My advice – start out with equal parts 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup and adjust from there until you figure out what you prefer. I’ve seen recipes that use 2/3 cup soy to 1/3 cup vinegar and then the opposite where they use 1 cup vinegar to 1/2 cup soy. It really just depends.
Place chicken pieces into slow cooker.
Combine soy sauce through cornstarch, making sure to mix well so that the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Pour over chicken. Cook on high for 4 – 5 hours until chicken is tender and cooked through.
That’s it. Literally. For me personally, at the end of cooking time I like to remove the chicken and place it in a covered bowl to keep warm. Then I de-fat the sauce and thicken it up more if necessary.
Serve chicken over rice with sauce drizzled over both. Serve a vegetable on the side. I was trying to use up the Swiss Chard from the CSA, so I ended up sautéing it with salt, pepper, ginger, garlic, chili garlic paste, soy sauce, and chili sesame oil. Honestly though, I wasn’t a huge fan of the swiss chard athough I ate it (and it does look pretty in the picture). It was just really “earthy”. It’s a little odd because I like swiss chard in dishes like soups, pastas, etc. but when it’s just a simple sauté the earthiness was a little too strong for my preference. Lesson learned: next time I’ll stick to using chard in things rather than on it’s own.