Slow Cooked Pork Adobo with Fresh Pineapple
I’m a strong advocate for and user of social media.
Of all the platforms I have tried out, twitter has been one of the most fulfilling and amusing. It can be frustrating if you’re starting out and you will encounter the type of people you may never associate with in the normal course of events, but there are oodles of positives, many of which will surprise you. Amongst the celebrities, the accountants moonlighting as stand-up comics with witty one-liners, the insomniacs constantly berating their sleep deprived states, the writers banging their heads on their laptops, trapped by writer’s block and the distraction of angry birds, amongst the endless stream of news and the occasional rant or case of TMI (too much information), you meet a handful of ‘real’ people. People with whom you’d go out for a drink or share a meal and a belly laugh.
Sometimes, these people live oceans away and said drink and meal and laugh will have to take place over the internet. In this case, my friend Trina, an ophthalmologist living in Manila and a proud Filipino, as well as a F.C Barca supporter (rah-rah!), shared a meal – a Pork and Chicken Adobo in a private cooking lesson that she and her husband created by way of a recipe with step-by-step photos.
She also mailed me some special local spice blends to make the task easier. Adobo is one of the national dishes, if not the quintessential dish of the Philippines and includes the unique method of stewing meat in vinegar. When the Spanish discovered this local method, they named it adobo, meaning ‘to marinate’ or season. Chicken, pork or seafood is cooked with garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and vinegar until tender. The vinegar reduces and caramelises in the sauce. This dish can be taken to picnics or transported to functions without refrigeration, as the vinegar acts as a preserving agent.
I studied Trina’s instructions and suggestions and adapted her family recipe to make this Pork Adobo. The fresh pineapple added to the stew in the last 10 minutes provides the perfect fresh bite to cut through the richness of the tender but fatty pork.
Trina suggested I cook the pork with the fat on, and strain the stew and remove the fat at the end. I did this, but the next time I make it I will remove most of the fat before cooking. Cooking the adobo with the fat on the meat results in an exceptionally rich stew.
So, while I have not been to the Philippines yet, this is a taste of it to tide me over till I get there.
600 g boneless pork shoulder, preferably (I used one with bone in) fat on or off, cut into bite size cubes
10 cloves garlic, crushed
1 t ground black pepper
2 t black or green peppercorns
125 ml soy suace
125 ml white wine vinegar (I used Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar – hence the deep colour of my adobo)
500 ml potatoes, chopped into chunks or 8 baby potatoes (optional)
125 ml chopped pineapple – bite size
500 ml water
salt, to taste
* I enriched this adobo with a few teaspoons of the adobo spice*
Add all the ingredients, except potatoes, pineapple, water and salt to a bowl, ensuring everything is covered by the liquid. Allow to marinate for a minimum of one hour.
Add the marinated meat with the marinade to a large saucepan or pot on medium- high heat on the stove.
Turn the heat up and once the liquid starts to boil, add the water. It will soon look a bit frothy, it’s all part of the deal.
Turn the heat down to low, add the potatoes and cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.
Cook for another 30 minutes with the lid on, stirring frequently. You want to meat to be tender and the sauce to reduce. I cooked mine till the pork almost shredded in much the same way a pulled pork dish appears – for another 25 minutes on low heat.
Add salt to taste and the pineapple in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
This would be served with white rice.