Chicken Adobo (Repost from Dec.5, 2012)

Sunday was my birthday, and now that I am an empty nester it was a pretty quiet one. Since my husband has to be at his medical practice in Pensacola on Tuesday, we decided to celebrate on Monday by having a day date. We went to Destin Commons to see Lincoln (which was incredible and I highly recommend), and dined at Tim Creehan’s Cuvee Bistro (Update: now Cuvee 30A at Inlet Beach). Cuvee has the best happy hour with terrific drink and appetizer menu items half-priced from 5-10pm.  

Chicken Adobo Prep

Growing up my parents always asked my sister and I what we wanted to eat on our birthday and then they would make it for us. Always a foodie, I got great joy out of mulling over my options. My parents also took on this task for their grandchildren, and this week it was my turn once again to choose.

The last few years my choice has been chicken fried steak with saw mill gravy, buttermilk biscuits or cornbread, and a mess of greens. But, after a heavy Thanksgiving meal, and with Christmas around the corner, I went back to our 1970’s roots from the time my father was stationed in the Philippines and chose their national dish, Chicken Adobo.

Tom (aka Poppy) is the executive chef

When we were stationed in the Philippines I was a young girl and this dish was prepared for us by our appointed Naval base house staff, Lourdes. She was also my friend and mentor in the kitchen. It is so easy to make, healthy if you remove the chicken skin and use light soy sauce, and one I think your family will love too. Though the small of vinegar isn’t that great, it really makes the dish, and tastes fantastic. Serve with your favorite rice. I happen to like Anson Mills.

Fragrant Adobo

Poppy’s Chicken Adobo


3 pounds cut up chicken pieces, skin and fat removed

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup light soy sauce. For keto friendly, substitute low sodium (gluten and what free) tamari

1/2 cup water

4 cloves garlic crushed

salt to taste

1 tsp. black peppercorns, ground

2 bay leaves

Note: Chicken thighs and legs are the most popular parts used in this dish. I add breasts too as my husband is not a fan of dark meat. I’d avoid the wings. And, keep it Keto or low carb by leaving the rice out and serving over your favorite veggies.

Variation: In the last step ( uncovering the skillet) while the sauce is reducing, you can transfer the chicken to a foil-lined sheet pan. Brown the chicken underneath the broiler for 3–5 minutes. Return to skillet or Dutch oven.

Ready to serve Chicken Adobo


Clean chicken of fat and put in a pot covered with cold water in the refrigerator for an hour. Rinse and pat dry and set aside.

Combine all other ingredients for marinade in a large bowl. Add chicken to marinade liquid and place back into the refrigerator for one hour. Turn the chicken and leave for one hour more, marinating a total of 2 hours.

Place chicken and marinade in a heavy bottom Dutch oven or large skillet and turn to high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and tender, around 30 minutes.

Uncover and simmer turning chicken until the sauce is reduced and thickened to liking about 20 more minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve with your favorite rice with additional soy sauce and hot sauce such as Sriracha or Tabasco on the side.

For Instant Pot

Follow instructions above for cleaning and marinating chicken. Add chicken and marinade to the Instant Pot. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook, on high, for 8 minutes. After the pressure cook cycle is complete follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release and wait until the quick release cycle is complete. Careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid and turn the Instant Pot back to the high saute setting. Let the sauce come to a boil and reduce it until dark brown and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.

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