I was originally going to call this a Filipino adobo, but I served it to Eilene’s friend from the Philippines. While it was “…good, it is not Filipino pork adobo.” It was too sweet and who puts vegetables in a meat dish like adobo?
The answer, of course, is Californians. I asked for the family recipe and got Louise’s version, and two of the aunt’s versions, wet and dry pork adobo. I made a second Filipino dish for this meal, Gising Gising, but the less said about it the better.
Karl’s California Fusion Pork Adobo
1½ lb. pork shoulder
½ cup +2 Tbs. light soy sauce, separate uses
⅓ cup +1½ Tbs. white wine vinegar, separate uses
11 whole garlic cloves, separate uses
1 red bell pepper
2 Tbs. peanut oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
small pinch of Kosher salt
1 laurel bay leaf
½ Tbs. pepper, cracked
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1½ cups water
1. Cut the pork into 1½ inch cubes.
Tip: I cut as much of the fat off as possible, because of Jan’s dietary restrictions.
2. Mix 2 Tbs. soy sauce, 1½ Tbs. vinegar, ½ tsp. cracked pepper and one crushed clove of garlic in a medium bowl.
3. Marinate the pork in the bowl for one hour.
Tip: Stir the pork cubes every 10 minutes to redistribute the marinade.
4. Rinse the red bell pepper and broil it, four inches from the heating element, for 10 minutes to the side until the skin is black and blistered.
5. Put the pepper in a plastic bag for 15 minutes to cool and steam.
6. This makes it easier to peel the skin off.
7. Remove the skin and chop the pepper into one inch pieces, Set them aside.
8. Pat the pork dry with paper towels.
Tip: You are not trying to wipe off all the marinade. You are trying to dry the surface enough so that the meat sears, not steams, when it hits the hot pan.
9. Heat the peanut oil in a medium Dutch oven until very hot, but not smoking.
10. Sear the pork cubes on all sides, removing them to a plate as they are done.
11. Add the onions, rest of the whole garlic cloves and the salt to the pot and sauté for 4-5 minutes, until the onions are soft.
Tip: De-glaze the pot with the moisture released by the onions.
12. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, for two more minutes.
13. Add the bay leaf one and a cup of water.
14. Stir in the rest of the soy sauce, vinegar, and pepper.
15. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and put the pot in a 325º F oven for 1½-2 hours, until the meat is very tender.
Tip: Sauce should have a syrup-like consistency. If the sauce is thin, remove the meat, and reduce the sauce on the stove until it is the correct consistency. If necessary add some cornstarch mixed with a tablespoon of water.
16. Stir in the red pepper and transfer the adobo to a serving bowl with rice on the side.