Friday, September 4, 2015

Grilled Hawaiian Filipino Adobo Pork

Last Year's Post: Baked Italian Sandwiches
Two Years Ago:  Watermelon Gazpacho

How can a recipe be Hawaiian and Filipino, you ask?  I adapted this recipe from Steve Raichlen's BBQ USA and he explains it like this:

"Filipino cuisine is one of the world's best-kept food secrets.  Even if you live in a city with a large Asian community, like San Francisco or Seattle, I bet you'd be hard pressed to name a single Filipino dish.  This is a shame, because Filipino cooks draw on two rich culinary traditions - the Iberian cuisine of its Spanish colonizers and the vibrant flavors of the Far East.

Consider the following pork tenderloin adobo.  As the adobo moved from Spain to the Philippines, it picked up some Asian seasonings, such as ginger and soy sauce, a combination that's hard to resist.  This recipe comes not from the Philippines, but from Hawaii - home to a large Filipino community and one of the few places in the United States where Filipino cuisine is accorded the respect it deserves." 

Compared to other Hawaiian adobos I've had, the sauce is less assertively vinegary and the fact that it's made with pork (instead of chicken) and grilled (instead of stewed) is unusual.  But it's still just as delicious and a great change of pace from your regular barbecue stand-bys.  And healthy!  Adobo is traditionally served with white rice to balance the big flavors and absorb the sauce, but brown rice or another grain would be just as good.  Be sure to throw some fresh pineapple rings on the grill at the same time for a perfect sweet accompaniment. Note that the pork needs to marinate for 2-8 hours so plan ahead.

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Grilled Hawaiian Filipino Adobo Pork
Serves 4

½ medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 piece (1 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 green onions, minced (and additional sliced for garnish, optional)
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup rice vinegar or white wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
Kosher salt and black pepper
 2 tablespoons butter
½ onion, cut into chunks and layers peeled apart
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Combine the sliced onion, garlic, ginger, green onions, soy sauce, vinegar, paprika, bay leaves and sesame oil in a large zip-top bag; seal the bag and shake to combine the ingredients.

Trim the tenderloin of any extra fat or silver skin.  Cut into 1-inch cubes, season with salt and pepper and place in the zip-top bag.  Seal and shake to coat all the pork cubes evenly.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours, shaking and turning the bag occasionally.

Remove the pork from the marinade, brushing off any onion pieces.  Strain the marinade through a strainer into a saucepan to remove solids.  Bring to a brisk simmer for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce, stirring as it cooks.  After 3 minutes add the butter.  Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper plus a splash of vinegar if necessary; the sauce should be piquant and highly seasoned.  Keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat the grill to high.  Thread the pork cubes onto skewers, alternating with pieces of onion.  Clean and oil the grill grate, then grill the pork skewers for about 8 minutes total, turning to brown each side.  Baste with vegetable oil as they cook.  During the last two minutes of grilling, brush the kebabs with a little of the sauce.

Serve the kebabs with additional sauce on the side and optional green onions for garnish.

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