Monday, March 21, 2016

Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo

I recently made one of the best new dishes ever, a dinner that everyone in my family loved and wants me to make again. And again and again and again. 

This magical dish: my friend Aimee Nezhukumatathil's Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo. 

I'm going to let Aimee tell you all about her recipe. But first, know that everything she says is true. The chicken is so tender it indeed falls off the bone. You and your family will drool at the smells wafting through your house. Consider this conversation when I came home last Tuesday to chicken adobo simmering away in my crockpot.

Me: "Omigoodness, dinner smells amazing!"

Lucy,  9: "I know, right?!"

Lucy did not want to wait for her dad and sister to get home to start eating. 

Here are Lucy and Penny chowing down and displaying their approval.

Readers, this dish is so good. Here's Aimee to tell you more. --XOXO,  Amy

I know social media gets a lot of flack sometimes (and rightly so in many cases), but one of the good parts for me is reconnecting with sweet friends from long ago. Amy and I were friends in high school and on the Speech & Debate Team together (she was Debate Amy and I was Speech Aimee). After years of Facebooking, Amy and I finally reconnected in person a few years ago at our 20-year high school reunion. (Editor's note: Stop it! We are not that old!)

I've been drooling over the wonderful and very manageable recipes here and am so happy to follow along and cheer Amy's delightful goings-on, even if mostly virtual these days. (Editor's note: This photo is of Club Amy/Aimee at our 20-year high school reunion. I'm on the left and Aimee is in the middle. At the right is our friend Amy Farmer Broderick.)

A little bit about me and my family: I'm working at home now on sabbatical, but I'm an English professor at a small state college in Western New York. My husband is also an English professor at my same college and we have two little boys. We've tried to do as little child care as possible these past eight years, but that often means handing off the kids to each other in a parking lot or driveway. During the week, my husband and I almost always have grading to get done at night and we are both writers and we both love hanging out with the kids. 

This is my drawn-out way of saying that having time to cook can sometimes get tough if we're not prepped and ready to go the night before.

Enter: the slow cooker. 

I'm speaking  to the choir for many here, I know, but my slow cooker was a game changer for me. I can prep a meal the night before (or day of) going to work and come home to a piping hot meal after being on campus all day. 

My mother is from the Philippines  and my dad is from India, and  on those impossibly dark and dreary days here in New York (think Ice Planet Hoth), I crave my parents' home cooking: curries, noodle dishes, garlic fried rice, and my favorite: chicken adobo. Some of my Pinoy purist pals might think my slow cooker version is sacrilege, but my Filipina mama (who is verrrry picky about her adobo) could not tell this wasn't cooked on the stove/oven/outside burners. Once when she was visiting, she asked me three times just HOW I made this adobo, even though she saw the crock pot bubbling all afternoon. She just could NOT believe this wasn't made "the old-fashioned way."

Side note: This is so easy, it's embarrassing. But you do need to be precise with the measurements--even if you're like me and don't usually measure stuff--or you will be in vinegary, vinegary hell.

Sending peace, love and comfort food from western New York,

Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo
3 pounds bone-in chicken*
2-3 bay leaves
1 small onion, diced (optional)
8 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (or regular, if you prefer)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar, measured precisely

*Note regarding the chicken: Either cut a whole chicken into pieces or buy it already cut up. Or, if in an extra hurry, just use breasts, tenderloins or thighs. Also, the traditional way calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken, but it's up to you if you prefer skinless and/or boneless. The traditional way will, of course, be the juiciest.

Place the chicken in the slow cooker.

In a separate bowl, combine the other ingredients and stir until just mixed. Pour the mixture over the chicken and cook on low for 6-8 hours, until chicken is super tender. That's it!

Try not to drool when you walk into your kitchen the rest of the afternoon or when you come home from work.

Serve your chicken adobo over rice and with whatever veggies you like. Yields about six servings. Enjoy!

Oh, as Amy discovered and my husband will attest, the leftovers--if you have any--are as good or better!

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