IMG_0443.JPGWhen I mentioned to the Filipino cook at the Berkeley Bowl that I planned to cook lamb adobo, he looked at me as if I was planning oh…I don’t know… Adobo ice cream or penguin adobo.

That’s not very Filipino,” he mildly admonished me, and looked puzzled.
But that was all I needed to go ahead; nothing like are you crazy? to spur me on. I have to thank my bro-in-law John Silva for his heads up on this dish. He may have forgotten, but when we left his home in Manila after our vacation, he had provided a copy of the cookbook he had gotten the recipe from, and there it was on page 81 or so in The Aboitiz-Moraza Family Cookbook (2010).

How simple it was; two lbs of lamb shanks, half a cup of soy sauce, half a cup of water, half a cup of balsamic vinegar, some garlic, peppercorns, and a couple of bay leaves…and 24 minutes in the pressure cooker.

After letting the pressure in the pot come down naturally, I inspected the lamb and as I pulled out some cartilaginous bits, the bones were coming off like errant toothpicks, as smoothly as silk. Lamb…falling off the bone, tender as you’d like, and moist as all get out.

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Yes, I saved myself some couple of hours of time with that puppy, and other than putting all the ingredients into the pot, sealing it shut, and waiting 24 minutes or so, not to mention cooking up a bit of white rice and some French green beans with lemon and garlic, dinner was ready in about 35 minutes.

My wife’s Filipino-ness showed as she showed some cultural mouth-confusion over the balsamic vinegar addition (I, not being born and raised with her preferences and expectations was nonplussed.) and felt that using more standard vinegar would bring the taste profile closer to what she was ‘used to’.

And there’s nothing wrong with what she’s ‘used to’, but she is a creature of habit and having a home cook such as myself who finds it anathema to do the same dish over and over again in the same manner makes the post-dinner conversation interesting.

All in all, a very simple and deliciously satisfying dish. The flavors still linger in my mouth, and I must put together a couple of baon for her and a friend of hers at work she insists try this. Hmm. Well, plainly she was very impressed with the result, despite her dismay over the use of balsamic vinegar.

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