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Saturday, July 11, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dorothy Dean presents: Tender chicken adobo is a family favorite

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Three states, six addresses, one daughter, three dogs and countless memories (and eye rolls) have brought my husband and me to our seventh year of marriage this year. The main things that have gotten us through are the basics: love, laughter, adventure – and chicken adobo.

I attribute my cooking skills, or mainly that of chicken adobo, to his fondness of me, which is probably what made him propose in the first place. Seriously, though, that whole “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” is no joke.

The first time he tried chicken adobo, he was smitten, and out of the myriad meals I’ve made throughout the years, it’s still his absolute favorite. Can’t say I blame him, though. As the unofficial national dish of the Philippines, it’s a tasty one that’s hard to beat.

Braised in a flavorful mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, sugar, pepper and bay leaves, the chicken is cooked so tender that it practically falls off the bone. It’s tangy, garlicky, slightly sweet and oh-so-savory, with sauce so good you’ll want to drink it. This recipe is extra saucy, so there’s plenty to drizzle over the rice with which it’s served.

While there are many variations and ratios of the basic ingredients, it always yields delicious results. Coconut milk, onions, chilies and different types of vinegar are commonly used. The dish is frequently made with pork, too, and beef and fish also work.

While I prefer thighs (I find them to be the most tender and moist), any cut of chicken can be used, and skin is typically left on. I also like the added texture and heartiness the potatoes bring, but it can be made without them if you choose.

Chicken Adobo

2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil

2-3 pounds chicken thighs, skinless (bone-in or boneless), cut into large chunks

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

2 bay leaves, dried

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned and slightly crisp on all sides, about 8-10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and potatoes and continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, bay leaves and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer until potatoes and chicken are tender, about 20 minutes.

Serve over rice.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at

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