And just what are these discoveries?
ONE. Chicken thighs and legs, our default cuts for cooking adobo, are not ideal for the dish. The meat is too thick and the flavors don’t permeate all the way to the center unless you let the adobo sit overnight in the sauce and reheat it the following day.
Chicken wings are ideal for adobo. The meat is thin enough to soak up the flavors of the sauce all the way to the bone during cooking. The adobo doesn’t have to sit overnight to get maximum flavor.
TWO. Merely browning the chicken in oil to texturize the surface and prevent the chicken from acquiring a “boiled” mouth feel isn’t enough. Deep frying the chicken prior to braising is the better strategy.
Amazing, really, how one keeps discovering new things with experimentation. We’ve been cooking adobo for so long… It’s that one dish that, when we’re at a loss about what to cook, we automatically choose without a second’s hesitation.
But why quail eggs instead of chicken eggs? Visual balance, I suppose. It was my idea to use quail eggs. Chicken wings which Alex had cut into wingette and drumette are smaller than thighs and legs, and that makes the size of quail eggs proportional.
Chicken wings and quail eggs adobo
- 12 chicken wings - cut into drumettes and wingettes (leave the wing tips attached to the wingettes)
- cooking oil - for deep frying
- 12 cloves garlic - smashed and skins shaken off
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup vinegar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 12 to 18 quail eggs - boiled and shelled
- cooked rice - to serve
- fried garlic - (available in groceries), to garnish
- thinly sliced scallions - to garnish
- Wipe the chicken wings dry with paper towels.
- In a pan, pour in enough oil to reach a depth of about three inches and heat to 350F.
- Deep fry the chicken wings, in batches if the pan is not quite large, until the skin is golden brown. You’re not cooking the chicken wings through at this point but merely browning them.
- In a wide shallow pan, pour in about a tablespoon of the hot oil in which the chicken had been fried.
- Lightly brown the garlic in the hot oil.
- Spread the fried chicken wings in the pan, add the peppercorns, bay leaves and oregano, and pour in the vinegar and soy sauce. Tilt the pan around to distribute the liquids evenly. Bring to the boil.
- Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer the chicken wings in the sauce for about 40 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking.
- Add the quail eggs to the adobo during the last five minutes of cooking.
- To serve: Ladle rice into bowls, and top with chicken wings adobo and quail eggs. Drizzle sauce over the chicken, and sprinkle with fried garlic and sliced scallions before serving.