ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Adobo Chicken in Parchment Edition


After making shrimp piri piri last week, I found myself craving chiles, which is odd because it’s never really been something I’ve ever craved before. Well, never one to ignore my desires, I did some research on Epicurious and came across an intriguing dish called “Adobo Chicken in Parchment.” The recipe is fairly self-explanatory: make some adobo sauce, place it with some chicken in parchment paper, and steam it for two hours.
Sounded simple enough — and healthy too. Why not give it a whirl!

First up, I have to prep some dried chiles. I’m using both arbol and guajillo varieties. As you can see, there are plenty of seeds to go around.

In batches, I toast up the chiles in a skillet.

Then I plop the chiles into some super hot water. I DEMAND RECONSTITUTION!

Soon, all the chiles are in the water. That’s some solid reconstitoosh.

Meanwhile, I have to peel ten (!) cloves of garlic.

The garlic goes into the Magic Bullet. It’s soon joined by cinnamon, cumin, anise, oregano, cloves, and salt

I then drain my chiles. They’re only supposed to soak for fifteen minutes, but I let them hang out for about thirty.

The chiles go in the Magic Bullet. I also add apple cider vinegar and water. Excitement mounts.

Blender macro!

Within seconds, the contents of the Magic Bullet are reduced to a brick red puree.

This is the sort of job the Magic Bullet was built to do.

I transfer the adobo sauce to a nifty Gladware container — part of the Glad family of products.

I then spoon some sauce onto a chicken thigh over a piece of parchment paper. The recipe calls for a whole chicken leg, but thighs were cheaper.

Next: I wrap the parchment up and tie it closed with some kitchen string. As you can see, I’m making two thighs. I removed the skin on one to see if it would taste any different.

Time for some clumsy steaming. I place the bundles in a strainer/steamer/something-or-another, and then I place that over some boiling water. In the future, I might make the bundles more like packets so I can lay them on top of each other and use my rice cooker’s steaming basket (too small for this).

I cover the pot, but as you can see, the lid will not close tight. Not only is the metal strainer thing in the way, but the bundled parchment paper is too high. Hence, I have to weigh down the lid. That takes care of the parchment paper, but there’s still too much of a gap…

Voila! I wrap the top of the pot in tinfoil. Let the steaming begin!

Now I just have to wait…

And wait…

And wait…


Ah ha! It’s been two hours! Time to remove the papillote!

My biggest fear: the parchment has torn, and I’ll come face to face with a red, squishy mess.

Everything looks intact…

I remove one bundle from the contraption. Not gonna lie: it sort of looks like a soiled diaper. But I’m okay with that.

Time for the big reveal…

Ta da! The thigh has darkened in color, and the sauce has thinned out with all the condensation — not to mention chicken juices.

I plate up this bad boy with a side of rice. I was gonna make polenta but was too lazy to look up a recipe.

This is very promising.

I should mention that the aroma is fantastic.

At last I’m ready to eat.

This better be good.

I stick my fork in, and…

…the chicken is so tender, it just melts off.

No knife required.

The first bite.



I practically inhale the thigh and immediately seek out the other one, which I was initially planning on saving for another night. Oh well.

Further proof of how tender the chicken was.

So all in all, this was a very good recipe. It’s not something you can make at the last second, but on the plus side, it’ll fill your house or apartment with wonderful odors. Also, the dish can be quite healthy — or as healthy as a chicken dish can be. There’s no oil, butter, or cream involved. And as for my chicken skin experiment, the dish tasted just as good either way; so feel free to remove the skin.


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14 thoughts on “ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Adobo Chicken in Parchment Edition

  1. You ate the contents of a soiled diaper but pit stains would be unsightly?! You crack me up.

  2. Thanks for starting up a blog again. I loved Tvgasm but it jump the shark when you left. Your stories on this site are awesome.

  3. I really love reading your Adventures in Domesticity posts but I have the palate of a 4 year old so I’ve never wanted to try to make one of your creations til now. Chicken that doesn’t contain anything I want to leave out! I like that it takes a long time too, I can watch plenty of crap on tv while the soggy diapers are cooking. which reminds me, why aren’t you photocapping Rock of Love Bus? it’s amazing
    and I too followed you from tvgasm. love

  4. I think we’ve got a new Food Network star!
    Now you should try some Turkish cooking. I lived in Turkey for 3 years and found it quite tasty and easy to make. Very similar to Greek food.
    Was crushed when the only Turkish restaurant here in San Diego closed.

  5. I’d run over to try out some of your cooking, but for the love of God, can you please make something that won’t give me acid reflux?

  6. I hope you used the timer on your camera or did you have someone taking pictures of you without sharing your adobo? 🙂
    After reading these posts, I always feel I should try to do something fancy in the kitchen, but by the time I get home, the feeling is, well, gone!

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