Adobo is often called the national dish of the Philippines. The preparation is endlessly adaptable, and nearly every Philippine cook prepares adobo in a slightly different way. Though some add soy sauce to deepen the color of the dish, we followed Lucia Mallari’s method, which omits that ingredient. Philippine cooks favor mild-tasting vinegars made from coconut or palm sugar; we found that white wine vinegar makes a fine substitute.
- 4 chicken thighs (about 1 lb.)
- 4 chicken legs (about 1 lb.)
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 14 cloves garlic, slivered
- 1 2⁄3 cups coconut, palm, or white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
- 10 bay leaves
- Steamed long-grain white rice (optional)
- Place chicken thighs and legs on a cutting board and, using a heavy cleaver, cut each piece in half crosswise, through the bone. (Alternatively, leave the chicken pieces whole.) Sprinkle chicken pieces generously with salt and place in a 14″ nonstick skillet. Add garlic to skillet along with vinegar, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat; stir briefly, then lower heat and simmer, basting chicken occasionally with liquid, until meat is cooked through and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 40 minutes.
- Increase heat to medium-high. Continue to cook chicken, turning it frequently, until crisp and lightly browned all over, 6-8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter and serve with steamed white rice, if you like.