The Happy Home Cook: Paella de Adobo by Señor Anastacio de Alba

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Paella de Adobo by Señor Anastacio de Alba (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Paella de Adobo by Señor Anastacio de Alba (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

The Paella de Adobo is a rich rice dish of Spanish origin but made just for the Filipino. This comes from the recipes of Senor Anastacio de Alba who owned a famous Spanish restaurant in Manila. Transplanted from his Spanish roots to the Philippines, Mr. Alba concocted his recipes  to suit the Filipino palate. This is one of them. I cooked the chicken adobo ahead of time in the classic garlic and vinegar stew. Once the adobo garlic-vinegar flavors were well blended in the chicken pieces, I made the rest of the paella dish. The addition of a variety of vegetables to the rice and meat made it a very festive family meal. This recipe was adapted from The Alba Cookbook of Senor Anastacio de Alba & Miguel de Alba : Best-Loved Spanish Recipes & Practical Tips on Cooking and the Good Life, edited by Nancy Reyes-Lumen, book design by Ige Ramos. The recipe serves 4 to 6.


chicken pieces, cut up - 2 to 3 pounds, with bone
garlic - 6 cloves, minced
bay leaves - 2 pieces
whole black pepper corns - 1 teaspoon
vegetable or corn oil - 3 Tablespoons, for the adobo
vinegar - 1/4 cup
salt - 1 teaspoon
water - 1 to 2 cups, for cooking adobo
extra virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup
Spanish chorizos - 2 whole pieces ( 6 oz. total) sliced
garlic - 1 Tablespoon, chopped
white onion - 1 whole large, chopped
green beans - 1 cup, cut in 1-inch pieces, stems trimmed
carrots - 1 cup, sliced
red bell pepper - 1 whole, sliced, seeded, white membrane removed
long grain white rice - 3 cups
chicken broth - 6 cups
saffron - 1 packet (about half a tablespoon)
hard boiled eggs - 2 pieces, peeled, sliced, for garnish
tomatoes - 1 medium, chopped, seeded, for garnish
green olives - 1/2 cup, for garnish
frozen green peas - 3/4 cup (if using canned, drain the water out)

Paella de Adobo by Señor Anastacio de Alba (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)

Paella de Adobo by Señor Anastacio de Alba (Photo by Elizabeth Ann Quirino)


Cook the chicken adobo ahead of time. Put all the ingredients together in a deep stock pot : chicken pieces, garlic, bay leaves, whole black pepper corns, cooking oil, vinegar, salt, water. Simmer over medium heat for 1 and ½ hours up to 2 hours till chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender. The gravy would have reduced and turned slightly thicker. Set aside.

To cook the paella : over medium high heat, in a large skillet, place the extra virgin olive oil. Add the sliced chorizos and stir around to flavor the oil, for 2 to 3 minutes. When the chorizos turn slightly glazed, and crisp at the edges, remove from the skillet and set aside.

Using the same olive oil and skillet and maintaining a medium heat, sauté the garlic and onions in extra virgin olive oil. Add the rice and mix around the skillet for about 3 minutes till the grains get puffy. Add the saffron and broth. Bring the rice mixture to a boil after about 8 minutes. Lower the heat to a slow simmer. The rice will cook completely in about 7 minutes. Stir the rice mixture every so often to avoid sticking in the bottom of skillet.

Before the rice gets cooked, at the last 7 minutes, add the green beans, carrots and red pepper slices to the mixture. Then add the pre-cooked chicken adobo. Add the green peas and sliced Spanish chorizos last. Stir the mixture so rice does not stick at the bottom.

Season with salt and pepper. Cover skillet and let the flavors blend well for a few minutes more up to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, but keep the paella covered. Even if the heat is off, the skillet is still hot and the rice and ingredients will continue to cook at a low temperature.

Garnish with sliced eggs and chopped tomatoes. Serve hot.

Cook’s Comments: the original recipe indicated the use of pork spareribs, cut in cubes for the adobo. Also, large shrimps or prawns and crabs, cut in half, were added to the paella dish. Feel free to include as you prefer. In addition, instead of the suggested salted red eggs by Señor Alba in this recipe, I used regular hard boiled eggs. My personal preference for Spanish chorizos gave the dish the salty element needed.

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Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey, is a journalist, food writer and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She blogs about Filipino home cooking and culinary travels to the Philippines on her site

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