Adobo on the Double

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Fragrant Pork Adobo

Crisp-Fried Leeks

Steamed rice

Sliced cucumber salad

Warm bananas with butterscotch sauce

Pork and garlic make a happy couple. The fragrance of adobo, the classic Philippine one-pot dish, comes from the blending of these two ingredients with vinegar and soy sauce. Adobo is easy and requires mostly pantry ingredients. As it simmers, it makes its own delicious sauce. Most people don't thicken the drippings, but a little cornstarch paste makes the sauce smooth and gravy-like.

Here, crisply fried leeks provide a savory garnish. On the side we suggest a pleasant salad of thinly sliced cucumber in a little oil and vinegar. If dessert is in your repertoire, bananas are perfect. Saute them briefly in melted butter, then stir in some bottled butterscotch sauce for a topping that tastes like caramel.

Adobo can easily be varied. Instead of pork, try a combination of pork and chicken pieces (or chicken livers). Use coconut milk in place of water for an interesting flavor. Although it's almost always served with hot steamed rice, adobo makes a wonderful sandwich filling for a warmed French roll.

Staples for Main Dish

Oil

1 to 2 cloves garlic

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons cornstarch

5 tablespoons soy sauce

1 bay leaf

Salt

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

Shopping

1 pound lean pork meat (such as shoulder butt)

Optional Side-Dish Shopping

1 bunch leeks

1 cucumber

1 bunch bananas

1 bottle butterscotch sauce

FRAGRANT PORK ADOBO

1 pound lean pork meat (such as shoulder butt)

2 teaspoons oil

1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

5 tablespoons soy sauce or mushroom soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Salt, optional

Crisp-Fried Leeks for garnish

Cut pork into 3/4-inch cubes. Heat oil in heavy saucepan over high heat. Lightly brown pork cubes. Add garlic, soy sauce, peppercorns, vinegar, bay leaf and 1/2 cup water. Cover and simmer until pork is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir cornstarch into remaining 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir into pork mixture. Simmer until thickened. Adjust soy sauce or salt to taste. Remove bay leaf. Serve hot with rice and garnish with Crisp-Fried Leeks. Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

516 calories; 1,383 mg sodium; 82 mg cholesterol; 36 grams fat; 28 grams carbohydrates; 22 grams protein; 2 grams fiber; 62% calories from fat.

Crisp-Fried Leeks

1 bunch leeks (white part only)

Salt

Flour

Oil for deep-frying

Wash leeks and cut in fine julienne. Season to taste with salt. Dredge in flour. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry leeks, small handful at time, until crisp and golden. Do not over-brown. Drain on paper towels. Makes 4 servings.

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