Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Culinary boredom...Chicken Adobo to the Rescue!

I wonder how chicken got such a bad rap?  Know what I mean?  Why is it that when somebody's afraid they're called "Chicken."  Why not something more suitable like, gee....like Turtle?  After all, don't turtles hide in their shells 'til the coast is clear?

They're so "chicken" they bring their hiding places with them!

I have yet to see a chicken do that!  Oh, I understand when you scare a clucker, they run away.  They sure can't fly worth a dang.

Maybe they're afraid to fly. Hmmmm.  A chicken being chicken. Hadn't thought about it quite like that before.

Anyway....seems we eat a lot of chicken in this household.  And although there are a million different ways to cook it, sometimes when I see that packet of poultry sitting there, it's all I can do to keep from making peanut butter and jelly instead. 

Not that I'm ungrateful, it's just....well....

"You again....!" I heard myself say this morning when I set the stuff out to defrost.  "...Didn't we just have you the other day?"   What to do, what to do?   We've had it fried, stir fried, fricasseed and stewed, baked, broiled, boiled, grilled, stuffed and skewered....in soups, in salads and in sandwiches....and to me, in its most  ironic form...with eggs.

After that, what else is there?

Sure, I could start the rotation over again....fried is always nice. Grilling's nice, too.
But darn it all, I wanted something different.
Something ethnic....and not a burrito.  Been there, done that one too.

I was just about to start preparing for grilled "Chicken Whatever" when it hit me! Something we had years ago at a friends' house. Chicken Adobo.  Suddenly I was excited!  The kitchen shimmered with new light!  Even the skillet was smiling....and if you know anything about cast iron, you know how difficult that can be!

Vinegars and Soy Sauce
Chicken Adobo is a wonderful dish of Filipino origin.
It's one dish that shouldn't be left on the back shelf.
Did I still have the recipe?!?
Could I fake it?  Or was I too chicken to try?

"Well, that tares it!" I said to nobody in particular. "No brain of mine is gonna call me a coward and get away with it!"  And with that I pulled out my big recipe box and rifled through the many cards until at last it was found. An adaptation I came up with after that memorable evening meal. Chicken Adobo. Yay!

Scanning the ingredients I was pleased  to note we had everything here in the house. No last minute store runs!  Another Yay!  I could serve it with rice. Yay again!  Rice and a nice green salad.  Triple back flip off the high diving board Yay!

This household would not fall victim to culinary boredom....not on my watch!  At least not this night.


3 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast meat
1/2 lemon freshly cut
4 to 6 slices of lemon peel
1/4 cup vinegar (I used a combination of Balsamic and Apple Cider vinegars)
2 or 3 dried bay leaves
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 head of garlic, crushed
2  green onions, chopped 
OPTIONAL - 1/4 teaspoon ginger, chopped fine
1 Tablespoon butter or margarine 
4 quart sauce pan with lid
1 teaspoon black pepper
Water, apple juice or weak chicken broth (or combination of all three) to be added as and if needed
OPTIONAL - 1 or 2 small apples, sliced and one dab of butter

Wash the chicken thoroughly-you know where it's been! Pat it dry with a paper towel. Rub all over with lemon. Squeeze lemon juice over chicken and let sit while you get the other ingredients together.

Add vinegar, soy sauce, bay leaves, lemon peel and about 2 teaspoons of the garlic in the pan.
Stir this around over a medium heat for just a few moments, then turn off the heat.

Cut chicken into serving size pieces then put it in the pan.

Chicken added to liquid
Put the pan over medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR.  Do not stir until the vinegar/soy mixture begins to boil.  Once the vinegar/soy mixture starts to boil you should give everything a good stir to make sure the chicken has been coated evenly. Then set the cooking flame to low, cover the pan and let it simmer for about 30 minutes.

Check on it once in a while. Give it a stir, give it a sniff. It should smell tangy. There should be enough liquid so that the chicken is mostly submersed.  If it looks like you need some additional moisture, add some of the water/broth, stir everything then cover it again to resume cooking.

Garlic, green onion, apples, lemon peel
While this is going on, heat a large skillet and add the butter, apples and remaining garlic (ginger if you chose). Cook, stirring often, until the apples are browned and slightly softened, garlic is golden brown and soft. Then set it aside and  prepare the rice and salad.  

After 30 minutes, the chicken should be done.  Remove it from the liquid and add it to the apples, green onions and garlic.  Return the garlic pan to the flame.  Cook, stirring often, until the chicken and garlic join forces...about 3 to 5 minutes or until the chicken has browned, then add this mixture back to the liquid.
Adding it all together

Stir it around over a low to medium flame so that all the ingredients get acquainted, then lower the flame and let simmer about ten minutes, then that's it.

Chicken Adobo with Apples.  I know....it's not "authentic" with the apples, so make me stand in the corner.

Chicken Adobo and Rice
There you have it.  Give it a try!  Don't let anybody call you chicken!

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