The unofficial national dish of the Philippines, adobo, is actually both a dish and a cooking technique with which meat is marinated, seared in oil and then simmered in the marinade until tender. In this version, chunks of pork shoulder are marinated in a tangy, powerful broth of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and orange zest. We pair it with a vibrant mango salsa spiced with jalapeño—but you’re also going to want a big bowl of rice to soak up all the juices.
Since the meat is marinated, it’s crucial that you dry it well before searing, which allows for the pork to brown evenly without steaming. Then, when simmering, check the meat every once in a while to make sure it’s not boiling. For this cut of pork, low and slow heat yields the most tender finished bite.
Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus marinating time
Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes, plus marinating time
For the Adobo:
- 3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 6 cloves
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 star anise pods
- 1 orange, zested with a peeler
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
For the Mango Salsa:
- 1 large mango, diced
- 1 jalapeño—stemmed, seeded and minced
- ½ red onion, minced
- ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus whole leaves for garnish
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Steamed rice, for serving
1. Make the pork adobo: In a large bowl, toss the pork with the soy sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, cloves, garlic, bay leaves, star anise and orange zest. Marinate for 1 hour. Line a plate with paper towels. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to the prepared plate and pat dry. Reserve the marinating liquid.
2. In a 6-quart Dutch oven, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, turning frequently until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the reserved marinating liquid and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, until tender when pierced with a fork, 1 to 1½ hours.
3. Meanwhile, make the mango salsa: In a medium bowl, toss all the salsa ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide the steamed rice between bowls. Using a slotted spoon, place some pork over the rice and top with a spoonful of the mango salsa. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.
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