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  • Pollo en Adobo

    Pollo en Adobo

    I met my husband, Eder, when we worked in the same Spanish restaurant. I went on to work in small American restaurants and my Basque husband went to Nobu, where he learned to speak English (and a little Japanese) while making friends with the international staff. The bulk of the cooks were Israeli and Filipino and for family meal they would make Filipino adobo, a vinegar-based pork or chicken (or sometimes both) stew. So Eder would make it at home. We traded off cooking as our schedules became less flexible, and I started making it as well. Before we knew it, this adobo became one of our home staples.

    Servings & Time

    • Servings 4 to 6 servings
    • Prep 30 minutes
    • Cook 1 hour 15 minutes


    • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 6 large skin-on, bone-in, chicken thighs (2 to 2½ pounds)
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • Salt, to taste
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • Cloves from 1 head garlic, peeled, smashed, and cut into rough chunks
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
    • 6 fresh or 4 dried bay leaves
    • 1 1x1/16-inch (about the size of a quarter) fresh ginger, minced
    • 1 bunch (6 to 8) scallions or flowering garlic chives, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
    • 1 cup Manzanilla Sherry
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
    • ¼ cup rice vinegar
    • 1 cup (loosely packed) cilantro leaves
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1-2 teaspoons sherry vinegar


    Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with the granulated sugar and a little salt. Add to the pan, skin side down, and cook until seared and browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

    Add the onion, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaves to the pan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to pick up the bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the ginger and cook for 1 minute. Add the scallions and sauté briefly, until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes. Add the sherry and cook, stirring to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pan.

    Stir in the fish sauce, soy sauce, and rice vinegar and return the chicken to the pan. Sprinkle with the cilantro. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 hour, until the meat is falling off the bone.

    The chicken can be made up to this point, cooled, and refrigerated for up to a day. Gently reheat over medium-low heat just to a simmer to serve.

    To serve, stir the brown sugar and sherry vinegar into the sauce. Spoon the chicken and sauce onto individual plates and serve.

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