I’m seriously salivating as I get ready to write about the soy sauce + vinegar + garlic + brown sugar flavors in this thing. Welcome to Pork Adobo.
For the Filipino newbies, Pork Adobo is a traditional Filipino dish with pork marinated and cooked in a soy sauce/vinegar sauce until it’s super tender and completely saturated with flavor. The whole thing is usually scooped over a plateful of hot steaming white rice and if you’re me, you add an extra scoop so the rice gets really saucy. I crave that saucy rice.
In the name of full disclosure, I don’t think Pork Adobo traditionally has, uhh, beans. But mine has beans because I saw the aunties making a similar dish (humba) with black beans at one of the houses at the orphanage and couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Stuck. On food. On BEANS. Typical.
And traditional pork adobo isn’t made in the crockpot, either. I think I might be the only person in the one mile radius around our apartment who owns a crockpot. What a weird contraption anyways. Usually Filipinos cook this in a big ol’ regular pot, just boiling or simmering for a while it instead of crock-ing it all day long. Either way works.
I love the crockpot and I love black beans, so this is Lindsay’s version of Pork Adobo.
This is the gateway recipe that started me driving the black bean train into the wild blue yonder, forever and ever amen. Because since this recipe, I cannot stop thinking about black bean recipes. Part of it is my compulsion to get rid of leftover ingredients (there’s a half bag of dry black beans sitting in the fake fridge right now and it’s making me crazy) and part of it is my complete and utter devotion to this gorgeous little bean. Healthy Mexican Sweet Potato Skins are haunting my dreams in the most chipotle black bean wonderful way right now.
PS. The fake fridge is our actual fridge that doesn’t work, so we use it like a pantry and just keep regular food in there. Even though it’s not cold. Fake fridge. We keep our real fridge food in the freezer.
Cause you were dying to know the details of our scrappy kitchen, right?
As of this recipe, I realized how delicious is it to cook black beans all the way from dry little things with one pretty white spot on them, to soft, squishy, nutritionally-dense yummies that go perfectly with almost any kind of food. I use canned beans in lots of recieps, too, but the more I use dried beans and cook them myself, the more I want to eat them, everyday, always. If that’s even possible.
I know I’m asking a lot of you here, telling you that this plate of what sort of looks a little bit like rice and beans garbage is really one of the best dishes I’ve made all year, but you’re gonna have to trust me. This is worth dusting off the crockpot and going soy sauce shopping.
Think about what flavors are going on here: garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, bay leaves, vinegar, peppercorns, and pork. That garlic gets cooked ALL DAY LONG. It’s almost sweet when it’s all said and done. Now imagine the texture of the melt-in-your-mouth shredded pork with the softness of the black beans, and the tangy, salty sauce, and how perfectly it gets soaked up by the rice.
You love it. I knew you would.
Final thought of the day relating to health: I know pork isn’t exactly fat free, and no one believes in white rice anymore (FYI – brown rice is a complete and utter mystery to my Filipino friends) but because so much of this is made up of the black beans, it’s actually got a decent nutritional profile for the average eater. If you wanted to make this with less pork, or less fatty pork, you could try that. I guess.
Cause pork rules.
- 2 cups dry black beans
- 2 lbs. pork shoulder (boneless semi-fatty pork that looks like a roast)
- 3¼ cups Filipino soy sauce, divided (the one we use is called Silver Swan)
- ¼ cup brown sugar, divided
- 10 cloves garlic, peeled, whole and smashed
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 cup vinegar (I used Silver Swan white cane vinegar)
- 3 cups water
- The night before: Rinse the black beans. Soak overnight. This really helps with the texture of the beans, and they won't take as long to cook. Place the pork in a large bowl with 2 cups soy sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Cover and marinade in the refrigerator overnight. I left the meat whole for the marinating, but you can also cut it into pieces before marinating.
- The next morning: drain the beans. Discard the pork marinade, reserving the bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns. Cut the pork into 2-inch pieces. Place the black beans in the crockpot, cover with the pork, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Pour 1¼ cup soy sauce, 3 cups water, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar over the top. Stir once to get the liquid in and around the beans. Cook in the crockpot on low for 8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
- The last hour: check on the adobo - the pork should be very tender and some of the pieces might naturally fall apart, there should be enough liquid to keep the whole mixture "saucy", and the beans should be soft. Add the vinegar and cook for another 20-30 minutes. Turn the crockpot off and let the mixture cool for a few minutes before serving.
There should be a lot of liquid left over in the crockpot. That's okay because it helps keep it saucy as it sits in the crockpot, and you can use it to spoon more sauce over the pork/rice.
Japanese soy sauce (Kikkoman) is too heavy for this dish. Try to use a Filipino brand like Silver Swan or, as a last resort, just use the lowest sodium soy sauce.