Well, it’s Culinary Week here on the blog, I’ve decided. Something Julia Child said about her boeuf a la bourguignonne made me think of this dish, and then, since I’ve been feeling bad about not supporting my vegetarian readers, I hunted down one of my favorite vegetarian recipes online, which I plan to share with you tomorrow. Even this week’s agent interview fits, because the agent whose interview I already had scheduled represents cookbooks. Totally. Awesome. Coincidence.
Anyway, here’s that thing Julia Child said about her boeuf a la bourguignonne: “Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man.” That may be the case, Julia, but it in no way rivals the best-tasting meat I’ve ever eaten. That honor, I’m happy to say, belongs to a little Filipino dish called adobo.
My grandfather was born in Manila in 1922, immigrated to the US in the late 1930s, and married my Danish-stock grandmother in 1950. (Yeah, don’t even get me started on the awesomeness that is my grandpa’s life story. I could probably write a whole book about it, especially since, you know, I like to write.) Luckily for us, he brought adobo with him.
Adobo is the name Spanish conquerors gave to the uniquely Filipino dish that involves marinating meat in vinegar, lots of vinegar, for lots and lots of hours. Every family has a slightly different take on this classic recipe, but I once served our family’s version to a Philippine native who had recently moved to the States, and she said it was the best adobo she’d ever had:)
And so, without further ado (although there's been a lot of ado so far), the recipe:
My Family’s Adobo
4 pounds boneless pork spareribs or rolled pork roast
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Sprite
1 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed but NOT reconstituted
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 teaspoons black pepper
Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks. Combine the other ingredients in a large pot. Add the pork chunks to the pot, cover, and marinate in the fridge overnight. The next day, uncover the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 3 to 5 hours. Serve over rice.
Now I'm not sure how much of this is my grandpa's original recipe and how much we Americanized (because as rich as my great-grandparents were by Filipino standards (my great-grandfather actually received a law degree from the University of Michigan), I'm not sure how much access they would have had to things like Sprite and frozen pineapple juice concentrate:) ), but frankly, I don't care. The meat is beyond fork-tender by the time it’s done cooking, and it’s got that nice kick of Asian spice.
If you do try this one, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to drop me an e-mail or leave a belated comment. (I’ve enabled comment moderation on all posts older than a week, so I’ll be sure to see it!)
In the meantime, what are some of your favorite around-the-world dishes, and how did you discover them?