It’s not new. My daughter, Alex, cooked pineapple adobo and balsamic pork adobo pre-pandemic, and I posted the recipes in the old blog.
What’s new is combining those two recipes.
Just cut pork belly into bite-sized pieces, spread in a hot pan, add garlic, black pepper, bay leaves and oregano, and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the pork has rendered fat.
You read that right. It’s rendered fat. That’s really the key to a good adobo. If you’re familiar with French confit, you’ll have a good idea of the importance of rendered fat in adobo.
Next, pour in balsamic vinegar. It’s a vinegar made with grape juice. But know that there are different grades of balsamic vinegar, some are finer than others and there are fake products around too.
Then, add salt. Not soy sauce unless you want your adobo to turn really dark. I don’t. If you’re thinking it can’t be adobo without soy sauce, that would be grossly incorrect. White adobo is historically older than dark adobo.
Just let the pork cook in the balsamic vinegar and salt until the liquid has been soaked up.
Now, you have to add more liquid in which the pork will simmer. Water is okay. But, if you have any, use meat broth instead. Your adobo will taste richer that way. So, pour in the liquid, allow to boil, turn down the heat, cover the pan and simmer the pork until tender and the skin if turning gelatinous.
Then add chunks of fresh pineapple. Fresh, never canned. What you want is for the pineapple to expel its juices into the dish to give off a subtle fruity sweetness. Canned pineapple has no juice to expel. And if you offset the lack by adding syrup from the can, your adobo will be too sweet. So, use fresh pineapple.
Stir the pineapple into the pork, cover the pan once more and continue simmering the adobo for another ten to twelve minutes. That’s just enough time for the flavors to blend.
Balsamic pork and pineapple adobo
- 500 grams pork belly cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic smashed and peeled
- 3 to 4 pinches coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs oregano leaves only
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups meat broth (optional)
- 1 ½ cups fresh pineapple chunks
- 1 tablespoon rock salt or one teaspoon refined salt
- Heat a frying pan.
- Spread the pork belly slices and add the garlic, pepper, bay leaves and oregano.
- Cook the pork and spices over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fat has been rendered.
- Pour in the balsamic vinegar and sprinkle in the salt. Boil uncovered until the mixture is almost dry.
- Pour in the meat broth, bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer until the pork is tender and the liquid has reduced to a few tablespoons.
- Taste and add more balsamic vinegar or salt, or both, as needed.
- Stir in the pineapple chunks.
- Cover the pan and simmer for ten to twelve minutes longer.
- Taste one last time and adjust the seasonings, if needed.