Easy, Spicy Adobo Chicken “Pollo Adobado”

Here’s an easy way to make adobo marinade – buy the chiles in adobo sauce and add your own ingredients to liven it up!

Most grocery stores have chiles in adobo sauce in the international foods aisle.  The brand I found – San Marcos – is smoky and spicy.   I thought I might add more smoked paprika but once I opened the can I decided it didn’t need it.

You’ll only need half (about 1 cup) of the sauce, so refrigerate the rest for up to a week.  Try it on shredded chicken for exciting enchiladas!

I had 3 chicken breasts that were about 8 ounces each; to make them easier to marinate (and cook), I cut them in half lengthwise to end up with 6 thinner breast halves.

Let the chicken marinate for as long as you can.  Overnight is best!

Easy, Spicy Adobo Chicken, Pollo Adobado

Yield 2 cups of adobo sauce, to marinate up to 4 pounds of chicken.

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (or your favorite pieces, bone removed)
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided

for the adobo:

  • 7.5 ounce can chili peppers in adobo sauce (such as San Marcos)
  • 2 whole cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, optional
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar (or lime or orange juice)

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients for the adobo and puree until smooth.  You’ll only need half the marinade for up to 2 pounds of chicken; refrigerate the rest up to a week.  Set the other cup of adobo aside.

Cut chicken in half lengthwise to form 2 thinner pieces.  ​Put chicken in a zip top or vacuum-sealable bag, pour adobo over the top, seal and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight.

Remove chicken from fridge, and slice onion.  Heat a tablespoon of butter in a large pan and cook onions over medium-high heat until browned and soft.  Set onions aside.

In same pan, add last tablespoon of butter.  Cook chicken in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan, until chicken is browned, excess sauce is evaporated and chicken is firm when poked; about 10 minutes.  Serve over rice (try my fiesta rice recipe here) and topped with onions, or make enchiladas using extra adobo, quesadillas or tacos.  Enjoy!


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