Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Frugal Filipino Meal - Chicken Adobo

As part of my strategy to stay within budget for the All You Grocery Challenge, I'll be preparing a few favorite frugal dishes like Chicken Adobo. For our family of four, this dish cost only $3.20. Adding a side dish of green beans still makes it less than $5!

I love Filipino foods but finding proper ingredients can be a hassle. And homesickness overcomes me so much so that for years I have avoided cooking my favorite dishes. Since I left home before my mother could teach me, I've relied heavily on childhood memories for taste and presentation. But I am not one to deny my children their heritage. So for lunch, I made Chicken Adobo. This must be the official Filipino dish. And there is as many variations to this dish as there are islands of the Philippines.

Here is my version: Cost per serving - $0.80!
3 chicken leg quarters
1 onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp oil
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Filipino dishes are made unique by the use of sauteed onions and garlic before addition of other ingredients. So, add the oil to your skillet and set the temperature on medium high. Put the onions in first and work quickly to saute it until it turns translucent. Add the garlic next instead of cooking together with the onions to avoid burning the garlic. And continue cooking until golden brown. When cooked, set aside in a small bowl or plate.

Add the chicken next. I often remove the back pieces and extra fat of the chicken leg quarters. These are saved in the freezer for making homemade chicken broth. Chicken wings and breast can be used too but the fatty leg pieces make this dish delicious. Braise the chicken by cooking it a minute on each side to seal in the flavor. Combine the soy sauce and vinegar with the onions and garlic. Pour the mixture on top of the chicken. Insert the bay leaves in between the chicken pieces. Allow to boil then cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Flip the chicken over so the top portion can absorb the liquid. Also, add the lemon juice and sugar. Leave the dish uncovered for 10 to 15 minutes. Adding sugar towards the end reduces the sauce, allowing it to caramelize. The dish is ready when the chicken meat starts to pull away from the bone.

Chicken adobo is always served with plain white rice and a side dish of potatoes or green beans. For our lunch, I made green beans. To flavor the vegetables, remove the chicken from the skillet. Reserve 1/4 cup of adobo sauce and add 1/4 cup water to it. Return the sauce to the skillet. Add a 16 oz bag of frozen green beans. (I saved 1/4 of the bag for a dish later in the week.) Allow it to boil then simmer covered for 15 minutes or until the green beans are very tender.

This dish is salty and slightly sweet. It is a true Filipino dish that will surely become a quick favorite in your household. As with any other stews, it tastes even better the next day. Also, this dish freezes beautifully. Enjoy!

Want to see more frugal recipes? Visit $5 Dinner Challenge and feed your family for less!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds so good! We just grilled drumsticks last night, and I'm thinking we should have waited and cooked them this way! I used to stay with a Filipino friend when I was young, and she would cook her native food for us. I loved it! Except for the fish heads and rice that she would eat on Sundays. She would get me a happy meal then, lol. We will have to try this soon!


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