2 lb chicken pieces, cut up or whole
1 head of garlic, coarsely chopped (yes, an entire head!)
4 Tbsp soy sauce (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar (rice vinegar or white wine vinegar work best)
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1) Put vinegar, bay leaves, pepper, soy sauce, and
water in a saucepan. Cover and cook slowly about
2) Meanwhile, heat the cooking oil in a large,
heavy-bottomed frying pan. Peel the garlic, break
the cloves into chunks, and brown them over
medium-low heat (about 5 minutes).
3) Add the chicken to the frypan and brown it over
medium-high heat (about 5 minutes).
4) Add the broth to the frypan and simmer, partly
covered, until the chicken is done (about 30
minutes). Do not let it come to a boil.
5) Remove the bay leaves and serve over rice.
You can substitute pork for the chicken, or mix the two. In the Philippines it is the custom to marinate the meat for two days rather before simmering; with the top-grade meats that are universally available in our grocery stores, that is not necessary (though it does deepen and enrich the flavor).
To marinate the chicken, mix in the broth and 3 of the garlic cloves after step 1, then put the chicken in a glass dish and pour the marinade over it.
Adobo is the national dish of the Philippines. Most warm-weather countries have through the centuries developed recipes that preserve food while flavoring it. This dish is different than many because of its strong component of vinegar. It is at once sour, salty, and drenched in garlic.