When you say the word "empire," the first thing to pop into
most peoples minds would be British or Roman, but Spain at one
time was among the titans of empire builders. I think we sometimes
forget that because most of Spains colonies became independent
before this century, and also because, though Spain discovered the New
World, a lot of other countries followed, including France, Portugal,
the Netherlands, Prussia, and England. But Spain left some lasting
legacies around the world, including their language and their cooking.
It is the Spanish legacy that makes the islands of the Philippines
something of an anomaly in Southeast Asia. In the Philippines, the
cuisine and culture both were influenced as much by Spain as by India,
Malaysia, and China. Hence, in Manila, you can get egg rolls (or lumpia,
as they are called there) with your arroz con pollo. (It is
interesting that, in the Philippines, where peoples names and
many foods are so obviously Spanish, the language is not — the
indigenous Tagalog survived.)
The national dish of the Philippines is a
"stew" called adobo.
Originally made with pork, it is now as often made with pork and
chicken, or even with chicken alone. Adobos are Spanish in
origin, and, though they have largely disappeared in Spain, they can
still be found in Spains former colonies, altered in each to suit
local tastes and available produce. Whatever the regional differences,
the elements that all adobos have in common are garlic, salt,
and something acidic.
One of the nice things about adobo is its resilience — it
can be refrigerated or frozen, and then reheated and served. In fact,
it may be even better reheated, since the flavors seem to become more
complex and inviting over time. This is a wonderfully flavorful dish,
with a rich, slightly sweet-sour taste.
Chicken and Pork Adobo
4 Tbs. vegetable oil
4 lb. cut-up chicken
1 lb. lean, deboned pork, cut into cubes
½ cup water
⅓ cup soy sauce
⅓ cup cider vinegar
⅓ cup sherry
1 cup chicken broth
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Put the oil in a large casserole or Dutch oven and
place over medium heat. Brown the chicken pieces, a few at a time, on
all sides (but dont cook through), then remove to a plate.
Put the pork cubes in the same pan and brown for 10 minutes, turning
frequently. Add the water, cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and
simmer for 30 minutes. When done, remove pork to a plate.
Add the soy sauce, vinegar, sherry, chicken broth, minced garlic, and
black pepper to the liquid in the pot. Stir to combine, and cook for 1
minute over low heat. Remove from burner, and return pork and chicken
pieces to pot, stirring to make sure all pieces are bathed in sauce.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover the pot and place in oven to cook for
1 hour. If any of the chicken or pork is "sticking out" of
the sauce, you may want to stir the adobo once or twice during
cooking, to make sure everything has ample opportunity for exposure to
the juice. Remove from oven, and skim off excess oil/fat, if necessary.
Spoon pork, chicken and sauce over white rice, and enjoy.
Dont worry too much about exact weights.
Ive never seen a package of fresh, unprocessed meat or poultry in
the grocery store that was precisely a pound. I sort of average, e.g.,
last time I found 3.78 lb. chicken and 1.33 lb. pork —
thats close enough. Remember, this is being made every day by
thousands of villagers who simply run down a chicken in the back yard,
and dont bother stopping to weigh it.
And, as a reminder, its okay to use cooking
sherry in recipes. Its significantly cheaper than drinking
sherry, since its not taxed as liquor, and the small amount of
salt added as a preservative doesnt really affect its taste when
its used in cooking. Youll find it in the vinegar section
of the store. Or, if you made last Julys recipe (Chinese pork and
noodles), you may have a bottle already.
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