Filipino Chicken Adobo with Coconut Broth
Start to finish: 1 hour 45 minutes | Servings: 4
A hefty dose of rice vinegar blended with soy sauce and aromatics gave this Filipino dish its characteristic bright flavor and made for a potent marinade. The coconut milk tended to burn under the broiler, so we added it toward the end. If you can’t find bird’s eye chilies (sometimes called Thai chilies), any small chili will do. Stir the coconut milk thoroughly before measuring it. Look for chicken thighs that are uniform in size; if some are smaller than others, begin to check them early and remove them as they come up to temperature.
Don’t use regular soy sauce. As the chicken braises, the cooking liquid reduces, concentrating the flavor—and salt. Low-sodium soy sauce produced a broth that was well-seasoned.
- 1 1/2 cups unseasoned rice vinegar
- 3/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed
- 6 bird’s eye chilies, halved lengthwise
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Steamed white rice, to serve
In a large Dutch oven, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, chilies, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add the chicken thighs, submerging them. Cover and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high. Reduce to medium-low and cook, turning the thighs occasionally, until the chicken registers 170ºF, 25 to 30 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a medium simmer.
Heat the broiler with an oven rack 6 inches from the element. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Remove the chicken thighs from the pot and arrange skin side up on the baking sheet. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.
Strain the cooking liquid, discarding the solids, then skim off the fat. Return 1 cup of the defatted liquid to the pot, stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer over medium. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the cilantro, then cover and set aside.
Broil the chicken until the skin is deeply browned and blackened in spots, 3 to 8 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls with steamed white rice, ladling the broth over the rice.
Crispy Chicken under a Brick (Tsitsila Tabaka)
Start to finish: 2 hours (50 minutes active) | Servings: 4
Spatchcocked chicken cooked under a brick until the skin is burnished brown and beautifully crisp is a classic Georgian dish (though the Italian version, pollo alla mattone, is better known). For this recipe, the skillet in which the chicken is cooked must be ovensafe, as the bird roasts in the oven after the initial stovetop sear. For the “brick,” we used a second heavy skillet or a large, sturdy pot (such as a Dutch oven); the weight presses the chicken down, ensuring the bird makes good contact with the hot skillet, rendering the fat and crisping the skin. You also could use one or two clean bricks wrapped in heavy-duty foil. Niortskali, a Georgian garlic sauce with lemon and cilantro made as part of this recipe, is the perfect pan sauce to complement the chicken.
Don’t use a chicken much larger than 4 pounds, as it may not fit comfortably in the skillet. Don’t forget to pat the chicken dry before searing. The drier the skin, the better it crisps. After searing, make sure to drain the fat in the pan before putting the bird in the oven; this reduces splatter. Finally, don’t forget that the skillet’s handle will be hot after being in the oven.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 3 1/2- to 4-pound whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or other neutral oil
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 8 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ⅛ to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
In a small bowl, stir together the coriander, granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place the chicken breast down on a cutting board. Using sturdy kitchen shears, cut along both sides of the backbone, end to end. Remove and discard the backbone (or save it to make broth). Spread open the chicken, then turn it breast up. Use the heel of your hand to press down firmly on the thickest part of the breast, until the wishbone snaps. Season all over with the spice mixture, rubbing it into the skin. Let stand, uncovered, at room temperature for 30 to 45 minutes.
Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the lowest position. Thoroughly pat the chicken dry with paper towels. In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until just smoking. Place the chicken breast down in the pan. Lay a small sheet of foil over the chicken, then place a second heavy skillet or pot on top. Reduce to medium and cook until the skin is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes, removing the weight and foil and checking every 4 to 5 minutes to ensure even browning.
Using tongs, carefully transfer the chicken to a large plate, turning it breast up. Pour off and discard the fat in the skillet. Slide the chicken breast up back into the pan and place in the oven. Roast until the thickest part of the breast reaches 160°F, 25 to 35 minutes. Carefully transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest while you make the sauce.
Set the skillet (the handle will be hot) over medium-high and cook the butter and garlic, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits, then cook until the garlic is softened and the mixture is lightly thickened and reduced to about 3/4 cup, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a silicone spatula, mash the garlic until almost smooth and mix it into the sauce. Off heat, stir in the cayenne, lemon juice and cilantro, then transfer to a serving bowl. Carve, then serve with the sauce.
Chicken Traybake with Roasted Poblano and Tomato Salsa
Start to finish: 50 minutes | Servings: 4
This traybake allows you to cook chicken parts until perfectly browned and crisp while also roasting poblano chilies, onion wedges and tomatoes to make a flavorful salsa to serve alongside. The tomatoes release their juice during cooking, so deglazing the baking sheet with water after roasting isn’t necessary. If you want a lot of heat in your salsa, include the optional habanero chili.
Don’t forget to leave the root end of the onion intact so that the wedges don’t separate into layers. If the layers separate, they tend to scorch during roasting.
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 2 poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, root end intact, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1 habanero chili, stemmed halved and seeded (optional)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, trimmed and patted dry
- 10 medium garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1/4 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder and 2 teaspoons salt. In a large bowl, toss together the poblanos, onion wedges, tomatoes, habanero (if using), 1 tablespoon of the chili powder mixture and the oil. Into the remaining chili powder mixture, stir the sugar, oregano, 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper.
On a rimmed baking sheet, evenly season both sides of the chicken parts with the chili powder mixture. Place the garlic cloves in the center of the baking sheet, then arrange the chicken parts, skin up, around the garlic; this prevents the garlic from scorching during roasting. Arrange the vegetables evenly around the chicken.
Roast until the thickest part of the breast (if using) reaches about 160°F and the thickest part of the largest thigh/leg (if using) reaches about 175°F, 30 to 40 minutes.
Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter and transfer the onion wedges and habanero to a cutting board. Pour the garlic, the remaining vegetables and any liquid on the baking sheet into a medium bowl. Roughly chop the onion and habanero, then add to the bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the mixture until broken down but slightly chunky. Stir in half of the cilantro and the vinegar, then spoon the salsa over the chicken. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro.
PHOTO CREDIT: CONNIE MILLER OF CB CREATIVES