Paleo Chicken Adobo



Spring is here and I immediately gravitate towards leeks, tarragon, rhubarb and the highly anticipatory light red jewels, which my girls know as strawberries.  Lucky for us, we live in Bellingham and Spring also means colder climates suitable for warm, stew like meals.  

With this newness of seasonal availability also comes the ever reminder of my fancy towards all things food, especially food magazines & cookbooks.  I have gotten better over the years by “just saying NO” to the tantalizing food magazines at the checkout (insert lots of willpower).  Still, one of my very favorites is Cooks Illustrated, which I recently discovered they have a podcast.  What I love about this magazine in particular is how they bring science & know-how to the home cook.  It’s like investigative journaling in the culinary arena.  

Each article presents the thesis of what they are trying to create as they document failures and successes until they achieve the perfect culinary essay eats.  One of these was featuring Filipino Chicken Adobo.  In my recipe, I have switched things up a bit and created a “paleo” version of it.  What I like about this dish in particular is the marriage between the coconut aminos & apple cider vinegar.  I truly adore the tang factor in apple cider vinegar, which the adobo wafts subtle essence of it as you take a bite.  The coconut milk contributes by lessening the harshness of the aminos & ACV, and the garnishing of green onions ties it together.  Without further ado, I introduce Paleo Filipino Chicken Adobo.

Paleo Chicken Adobo (printable recipe)

This recipe is inspired via Cooks Illustrated.  Replacing coconut aminos for the traditional soy sauce creates a darker sauce resembling almost dark chocolate.  This is my contribution for my gym, Jogo, blog for May; however, the site is currently being revamped, so I'm posting it here.  


3-4 Tb coconut oil

8 chicken thighs, bone in & skin on

¾ cup coconut aminos

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

1-14 oz can full fat coconut milk

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 bay leaves

3 garlic cloves, crushed

garnish: chopped green onions


In a large bowl, add the chicken thighs & coconut aminos.  Coat the chicken thighs with the aminos and allow to marinate in it for 30-60 minutes in the fridge.  Once the chicken is done, begin to heat a large stainless steel pan with the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Allow the pan to get nice & hot, because you are wanting to create a nice crispy skin.  

Using tongs, gently shake the chicken thighs to remove excess aminos, and place in hot pan, skin side down.  Repeat until all of the thighs are in the pan.  Reserve the coconut aminos from the chicken.  Cook the thighs skin down for about 5-7 minutes.  You don’t want to turn them over too quickly, because the skin will not be crisp enough and will stick to the pan.  After 5-7 minutes, turn to cook on the other side with skin side up for an additional 4-6 minutes.  Remove the chicken thighs to a plate.  

Pour out the fat into a can.  Turn the heat to medium.  Combine the coconut aminos from the thighs with the coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves & crushed garlic cloves.  Return the chicken thighs back to the pan.  Pour the liquid mixture over the chicken and cook for 20 minutes skin side down.  Turn over the thighs with skin side up & cook until the meat registers to 165 degrees when inserted into the thickest part near the bone.  

Transfer the thighs to a platter and loosely cover with a piece of foil.  Remove the bay leaves from the sauce in the pan and skim the surface for fat.  I have a fat separator from OXO, which I love as it separates the fat from the sauce with ease.  Increase the heat to medium to medium high to cook until the liquid reduces into a thicker sauce, about 4 minutes.  Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs and garnish with chopped green onions.  

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