Monday, March 16, 2009
Filipino Pork Adobo, "Barbecue" Style
In an earlier entry, I waxed eloquent about chicken adobo. If I had to pick a last dinner, chicken adobo and white rice would be it (no veggies, thank you very much) with molten chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream for dessert. However, pork adobo is up there in the Filipino food pantheon, so when I was at the grocery store, I picked up some country style ribs and made adobo #2 this week.
As with my chicken adobo, I used my special technique of brushing the pork with ketchup and pan frying the pork after it has stewed to tenderness in its soy-vinegar-chicken broth marinade. The technique is unusual, but the ketchup caramelizes in the browning process and adds another level of flavor to the dish.
Since I was cooking pork and we're slowly inching into BBQ season, I used cider vinegar instead of rice vinegar, added paprika to the pork, and mixed the ketchup with a little bit of honey to add a touch of sweetness to the adobo. So perhaps this is a yet another iteration of the ever-changing adobo ... Southern barbecue style, anyone?
2 lbs. country style ribs
1/2 cup soy sauce*
1/2 cup cider or rice vinegar*
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 bay leaves
12 peppercorns (I will put them in a tea ball; you can use ground pepper instead if you like)
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
Ketchup mixed with a little honey or agave nectar
Splatter guard to cover the skillet when pan-frying (optional)
*If you're not sure how tangy or salty this dish should be to suit your palate, decrease these amounts to 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1/4 rice vinegar. You can always add more later. Or go ahead with the recipe, and if you find it's too salty or vinegary later on, add more chicken broth and thicken the sauce with a little cornstarch mixed with water.
Cut pork in bite-size pieces and dust with paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Marinate meat in soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns for 30 minutes or overnight. If you don't have time to marinate, that's fine. Proceed with the recipe.
Put meat and marinade in pressure cooker or dutch oven/pot. Add chicken broth to cover meat, adding more than in the recipe if needed to cover the meat (you can use water instead if you don't have more chicken broth). Cook covered for 30 minutes in the pressure cooker, 1 hour in dutch oven/pot or until tender. The pork should cook at a low-medium simmer, similar to when you cook a stew. You don't really want it to be at a rolling boil.
Take out meat and put on a platter covered with paper towels.
Strain sauce of garlic and peppercorns and defat (I use a gravy separator, but you can also skim off the fat with a spoon as the fat floats on top of the broth). Boil and reduce by half. As the sauce reduces, taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. For example, if it's getting too tangy for your taste, don't reduce it as much. Or if it needs more salt, add more soy sauce or salt.
While sauce is reducing, pat pork dry on top and on bottom (the paper towels on the platter should have absorbed most of the liquid on the bottom). Brush both sides with a little ketchup mixed with a little honey.
Heat non-stick skillet over medium to medium-high heat and add a couple tbs. of oil when it's hot. Put as many pork pieces in the pan but not so many that they're touching each other, as they need air flow to fry (if you have more pork than can fit in the skillet, cook the pork in batches). If you have a splatter guard, cover the skillet after you've added the pork. Leave if for a minute or two, using your tongs to check it to see if it's browning and getting crispy. Adjust heat as necessary if the pork is either browning too quickly or not browning at all. When it's brown on one side, turn the pork over and continue browning it on all sides.
Place browned pork in bowl or casserole dish when done.
Pour reduced sauce over pork and serve with white rice.