Sunday, October 12, 2008
Adobo Tests, Part Two: Pork
Part Two of our Adobo Tests was slightly simpler in some ways and a little more complex in others. More complex if you don't have a vacuum sealer. that is.
But it's the vacuum sealer that makes this approach simpler too.
First, take some pork butt (or pork shoulder picnic) and cut into one inch cubes. Now, a ten pound shoulder is going to give you a lot of meat, take the majority of the meat and vacuum pack in one pound portions to freeze for other uses later, like more adobo, sausage or carnitas. The pork shoulder typically will have ribbons of fat. I like these and prefer to keep them for extra flavor. For this test, I'll use about a pound and a half of cut pork.
In a stainless bowl, place the pork and an equal amount of soy sauce to marinate. I used 1/4 cup each of Kikkoman Red Soy Sauce and Quezon's Organic Hot Coconut Vinegar. The Quezon Coconut Vinegar is actually kinda hard to source - even my local Filipino market no longer carries it (a shame), but the flavor is so much better than regular. Though, in a pinch, the Datu Puti or Heinz brand vinegars will do.
Actually, I would go with the Datu Puti Sukaang Maasim - that's hot vinegar. If you can't find it, take white vinegar and infuse it with sliced white onions and small, hot chili peppers. It's quite yum and great for dipping chicharron. In Hawaii, it's also called "Chili Pepah Watah."
Toss a few bay leaves, crushed black pepper and crushed garlic and mix it all up. Once the meat has been fully coated, drop it all into a vacuum bag and vac seal. The vacuum will help the marinade penetrate the meat quickly.
After twenty minutes, the meat should be ready to go. Heat a cast iron skillet until it's smoking hot, add some sesame seed oil and saute the meat, making sure you get a nice carmelization on the meat.
Once cooked, set the meat aside and deglaze the skillet with sherry, stock or white/red wine (I used sherry). After deglazing, pour the pan sauce over the meat and serve.
The results were pretty good. The seasoning had penetrated the meat and we had some relatively traditional pork adobo in just a few minutes, without all the braising.
I've still got some left in the vac bag that I resealed and will have to try it again in a couple of days to see how things may have changed.