Linda, my mother-in-law and the matriarch of the Barry family, came over from the Philippines at almost the exact same time as Paddy, my father-in-law landed in Chicago from Ireland (via Belize. Long story...). They met through the Legion of Mary in the 1960’s when Paddy was the leader of the group at a church on the North side of Chicago. Linda showed up at one of his meetings and promptly took charge. Although she passed before I came into the picture, I know, 100% that she was that kind of woman. She made things happen, she got involved, she was a doer, a giver, and a connector. You will hear this from everyone who ever met her.
She’s the reason for so many things when it comes to my husband and his family, including the success of the Irish Boutique, the family business. As Paddy tells me, she would remember every single one of her customers and details of their lives and families even if she hadn’t seen them for months or years. When she would go on buying trips to Ireland she would bring back suitcases full of specific items requested by customers, having kept in mind what they were looking for and their personal preferences.
She’s the reason her kids love rice and Paul has to have it most nights, which simplifies my life immensely (thank you!). She’s also the reason why adobo, the national dish of the Philippines, is always well received at my house. Although, if I’m being honest, I’ve never met anyone who has tried adobo and not liked it. It’s so simple, yet that mix of tangy vinegar, garlic and salty-umami flavor from the soy sauce and the meat make it hard not to love.
Adobo is so easy to make on the stovetop and finished in the broiler, it’s almost embarrassing to have made a slow cooker version. Almost. But I’m not above simplifying anything so long as it is still delicious. While I know this wasn’t how Linda would have made it, I think she would approve and be happy to see her grandchildren eating adobo with abandon.
Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo
2lbs chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin removed
8-10 cloves of garlic, crushed with the back of a knife
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
½ cup distilled white vinegar (or rice or apple cider vinegar)
¼ cup soy sauce
Chicken adobo is usually cooked in vinegar and soy sauce and finished under the broiler to brown and crisp up the skin. Because I made this version in the slow cooker, I removed the skin and browned the meat at the beginning then let the meat slip off the bone and rest in the sauce until I was ready to serve it.
Either in a large pan or the insert of your slow cooker, sear meat over medium high heat until it is browned on all sides, about 4-5 minutes per side.
Add garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, soy sauce and vinegar to slow cooker insert with chicken.
Turn on low for 4-5 hours turning the chicken occasionally so that each sides takes a turn being submerged in sauce.
Once chicken is tender enough to fall off the bone easily, remove the bones and allow to rest in the sauce until you are ready to serve. It is even better the next day!
There are many, many variations of adobo. Chicken and pork or a combination of chicken and pork are most common and often times coconut milk is added to the sauce. I serve adobo with white rice, a cooked vegetable like broccoli or sweet potatoes and something fresh, like cucumber and tomatoes dressed with a little bit of fish sauce, lime juice and brown or cane sugar. The other day, I served it with that type of salad and Paul told me that his mom always did the same thing. Great minds…