Yes, Filipino adobo is versatile. So long as you have the correct combination of spices and seasonings, you can pretty much cook anything into an adobo dish.
In this recipe, ground pork is combined with green beans or what we call Baguio beans in the Philippines. They’re just regular green beans, the kind that needs to have the “string” pulled off and discarded. If you want to cut down on prep time, go for haricot vert.
Spread your ground pork in a heated wok or frying pan, and add garlic, black pepper, bay leaves and oregano.
Tip: Go for fatty ground pork — at least 20% fat (30% is even better) — if you want a really luscious adobo. If cooked ground meat that resembles mashed cardboard is okay with you, then go ahead and use lean ground pork. I’m not joking. And I’m not being sarcastic. There’s vinegar in adobo — a copious amount — and acid does things to meat. Without fat, the meat muscle can easily turn dry during cooking.
Cook over high heat, stirring often, until the meat is no longer pink.
Pour in vinegar and soy sauce. Stir to blend. Cook, uncovered, until the meat has soaked up the liquids. This stage takes about five to seven minutes.
When the mixture is almost dry, throw in the cut green beans. How should they be cut? There really is no rule. Long or short. Cut on the bias or not. The only thing to remember here is that the size of the cut green beans affects the length of cooking time. And the longer the pieces, the less chance that the sauce will permeate all the way to the innermost part due to the short cooking time.
Stir the ground pork and green beans together. Since there is very little liquid left in the pan at this point, drizzle in about two tablespoons of water around the edges of the meat and veggies. Then, cover the pan to allow steam to build. The green beans need that steam to cook in. For how long? A few minutes. Don’t overcook them. They’re so much nicer when they still have a little crunch.
Ground pork and green beans adobo
- 300 grams ground pork prreferably with at least 20% fat
- 6 cloves garlic peeled and pounded
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs oregano leaves only (or two pinches dried)
- 3 tablespoons cane vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 300 grams green beans stringed and cut into two-inch lengths)
- Heat a non-stick pan and spread the pork (see notes).
- Add the garlic, pepper, bay leaves and oregano.
- Cook over high heat, stirring, until the ground pork has lost its raw appearance.
- Pour in the vinegar and soy sauce, and stir.
- Cook, uncovered, until almost dry, about seven minutes.
- Stir in the green beans.
- Drizzle two tablespoons of water around the edges of the meat and vegetables.
- Cover the pan and cook for about two minutes or just until the green beans are done but still lightly crisp.
- Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed, before serving with rice.