Be My Balsamic Chicken Adobo

Written By Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole On April 20, 2011

chicken_adoboBe sweet, be savory, be ready to fall in love with chicken adobo, a melting-pot wonder that features a lively mix of vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, black peppercorns and bay leaves. Originating in the Philippines where Chinese, Spanish, French and Mexican cuisines fused to kick up traditional island “eats,” chicken adobo is a tender, tangy braise that’s quick, affordable and ridiculously easy to prepare. Perfect for harried weeknight fare or do-ahead entertaining, the rich sauce is even better the next day. Serve it up with rice n’ peas, grilled bread or a sexy smash of sweet potatoes.

Of course there are many versions of chicken adobo to fall for, but we prefer this less traditional version using balsamic vinegar (an inexpensive brew is fine) and red bell peppers for added sweetness. Veggie or vegan divas can sub cubed tempeh for chicken. Just steam for 15 minutes before adding to the sauce.


Be My Balsamic Chicken Adobo
Serves 4
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon ginger paste
2 bay leaves

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 4 minutes. As the onion cooks, use the flat side of a chef’s knife to smash the garlic cloves, adding them along with the red pepper to the pan. Sauté for 2 minutes more.

Add the chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, peppercorns, ginger paste and bay leaves. Braise the thighs uncovered for about 25 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Diva  Confession: Tempeh is a nutty flavored “cake” of fermented soybeans. We hear you: hardly sounds worth flooring it all the way to the local health food store to get your greedy oven mitts on. But if you’re trying to cut down on meat products, whether to boost your health or that of Mother Earth, we encourage you to keep an open mind. Unlike tofu, tempeh has a chewy texture and is delish in various braises and stews. Out of the package, however, it does needs a bit of TLC. Cut the tempeh into 2 or 3 sections and steam in a veggie steamer for 15 minutes. Once cooled, cube, slice or grate for all manner of meatless delights.


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