You have a friend in chicken adobo

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Facebook offers face time, minus the face, plus lots and lots of time. Hours online may — or may not — foster the intimacy implied by "friend."

Take Chicken Adobo. It posts under a screen name that's all south-of-the-border suave. It flaunts the dark, glossy and handsome Photobooth shot. Friends of friends friend it. They check out its profile, post to its wall, LOL when the screen quiz claims its celebrity double is Selena Gomez.

But the friend who bothers to log out, sit down and dine with Chicken Adobo may come away surprised.

Chicken Adobo isn't hot and spicy. It's sweet and sour. It isn't Mexican or South American. It's Filipino.

Back when King Philip II of Spain (or his friends, say) dropped in on the islands, he was struck by the ingenious local habit of stewing meat tender in vinegar. Though the recipe shares none of the seasonings favored back home, it was named — roughly — seasoned, or adobo.

The name stuck. As does the wonderful vinegar, soy and brown-sugar sauce. Its nuanced profile suggests hours on the stove. But adobo is easily prepped and sizzled in a single pot and a slim half-hour. Giving friends of good food something to not just "like," but like.

Leah Eskin is a Tribune special contributor.

leahreskin@aol.com

Filipino chicken adobo

Prep: 10 minutesWait: 2 hours

Cook: 25 minutesMakes: 6 servings

1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry

8 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 cup chicken broth

1/3 cup white-wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Steamed rice

1 Marinate: Combine all ingredients except rice in a glass pan or zip-top bag. Cover (or zip) and refrigerate 2-24 hours.

2 Simmer: Slide all ingredients into a 12-inch skillet. Chicken should be half submerged. Heat to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, 8 minutes. Turn chicken and cook until tender, 8 minutes.

3 Glaze: Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring, until chicken glistens deep brown and sauce has all but vanished, 5 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Serve warm over rice.
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