Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Strange Occurrences

So yesterday morning at work was interesting, to say the least.  I get to the restaurant I manage at about 7:30 in the mornings.  All of the employees generally park in the same spaces every day.  I looked over, and there was an unusual truck parked in someone's space and a man was sleeping in it.  We were sure that he was drunk and passed out.  We tried honking my car horn from the remote, but he didn't budge.  Then my boss told me that there was a homeless man and his dog camped out by our back door.  Both kind of strange things to come to on a Monday morning.

My boss was concerned that the guy sleeping would drive somewhere, so he called the non-emergency police line. After he came back out of his office, the man sleeping backed up, backed all the way down the drive behind our building, and pulled into another parking space.  Meanwhile, the homeless man was gathering up all of his stuff to leave. If your workplace is anything like ours, all of the employees were watching and not accomplishing anything.  Next thing we know, the homeless man is peeking in through our front door.  We don't open until 8:30, so the doors were locked.

The police show up and talk to the sleeping man.  Next, the police then stopped to talk to the homeless man, who then went on his way.  Then the police come to the front door and tells us the sleeping guy wasn't drunk.  He had driven in all night to come to a construction job and was trying to get a little sleep before work.  So the sleeping man and the homeless man both went on their way, and my employees finally got to work.

While my day may have started out strange, it ended pretty great.  I decided to try a dish that is famous in the Philippines.  This chicken is called Chicken Adobo.  It's a crockpot recipe that has chicken thighs, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and peppercorns.  I was very worried that it would be a sour mess and that we would hate it.  But it turned out fantastic!  The peppercorns were soft enough to eat, but, boy, they packed a punch of heat!  My husband and son raved about it.  My poor daughter had to work until 10:00, so she didn't get home in time to eat.  She generally doesn't eat meat with bones in it anyway.  But I'm glad we gave this a chance.  It was easy and so darn tasty!  Enjoy!

About 3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs
1 onion, sliced
1 whole bulb garlic, smashed and peeled
1/2 C rice wine vinegar
1/2 C soy sauce
1/2 C water
1 1/2 T whole black peppercorns
1 T oyster sauce
1 T brown sugar
3 bay leaves

NOTES:  The oyster sauce and sugar aren't traditional ingredients in Chicken Adobo.  I was concerned that it would be sour and thought the sweetness would help with that.  It was not at all sour, and the slight sweetness was great.  I left the cloves of garlic whole because I love eating mellow cooked garlic.  If you don't want to eat it whole, just mince it before throwing it in the crockpot.  Also, as I mentioned above, the peppercorns pack some heat when eaten.  If you don't want to take the chance of eating them whole, you can use a small amount of ground black pepper or put the peppercorns in some mesh tied up to still keep the flavor.
From the research I did on Chicken Adobo, it supposedly is only supposed to be eaten with white rice.  I made white rice. But with chicken stock.  And garlic.  And minced onion. Because I can.  Just saying...

Place the onions, bay leaves, and garlic in the bottom of a crockpot.  Place the chicken thighs skin side up on top of the onions.  Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, water, oyster sauce, and sugar and pour it all over the top of the chicken. Sprinkle the peppercorns all over the top.  Cook the chicken on low for 8-10 hours.  

The next two steps are optional, but I recommend them both.
I scooped out the chicken thighs and veggies and put them in a casserole pan (chicken must be skin side up).  I put them under the broiler for about 8-10 minutes to brown and caramelize the skin to make for a prettier presentation.

Next, I took the liquid out of the crockpot and put it in a pot and boiled it for about 10 minutes to reduce it and thicken it up.

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