Roast chicken Adobo

We love our roast chickens here. My husband and I have had them since we were recently married and our kitchen was a small kitchen in our first apartment. Now we have two children and one slightly larger kitchen (emphasis on the slightly) and our love for good roast chicken continues. Now my children wait patiently (sometimes not too patiently) to take the chicken out of the oven… and I cut choice pieces to put in their waiting mouths and hands… and I’m beyond thrilled when they approve.

In fact, we recently graduated from a one-chicken family to a two-chicken family! Yes, one roast is no longer enough for the four of us… and of course, there must there are leftovers for lunch the next day! And if I’m lucky, a little extra to spread on some chicken salad (that i love). Then the carcass is hidden in the freezer for future chicken stock.

There is always something so satisfying, and even celebratory, about bringing a whole roast chicken to the table. Sweat on the forehead, hands in oven gloves firmly holding the baking dish, triumphant smile when you see the eyes light up…

“Dinner is on!” “Make room! Make room!” “Watch out, it’s hot!” “Mmmm! Smells good!” “I want a leg!”

These are the memories I keep with me and I hope my children will keep them.

I remember my mom making chicken at home when I was a kid. Whether whole or in pieces, he could always see what was familiar magnolia wrap in our freezer (as well as all their ice creams! Anyone remember the flavor of the month??). Did you know that their chickens are hormone and steroid free? I sure didn’t know that when I was little (and i was full of hormones… wait did i say that???), but as a mother these things become more important. Not that I can say that our lives are all natural free of some weird chemicals… but I do my best to look for options that are better for us (and the rest I just choose not to feel guilty about).

So. Anyways. When they approached me to do something for them, the wheels in my brain immediately started turning. Do I do something old and familiar? Or something new and different?

I decided to do a little bit of both… turn our beloved adobo into a classic roast chicken and keep everything we love about eating adobo.

The idea here was to have the marinated chicken-flavoredbut cooked over a dry fire like a traditional roast, BUT they also have a sauce to enjoy with rice as with normal adobo. I used all the traditional adobo flavors here (soy, vinegar, black pepper, garlic, bay leaf), but he applied them in different ways and at different stages of precooking/cooking. And what you get is this chicken.

Roast chicken Adobo


  • 6 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons vinegar (I used vinegar)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sweet soy sauce (sweet soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons of vinegar
  • 1 cup of water
  • A generous grind of freshly cracked black pepper


  • 1 whole Magnolia chicken
  • 4-5 whole heads of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half on the equator
  • 10-12 small red onions, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Canola oil (or any vegetable oil with a mild flavor), for drizzling

– The night before cooking, brine the chicken: Combine the brine ingredients in a deep bowl or plastic container that will fit both the brine and the chicken. Mix well and let the sugar dissolve. I do this while the chicken is thawing. I put the brine in the fridge to keep it cold and when the chicken thaws the sugar has dissolved. It’s also worth mentioning here that I only use water that I would use for drinking (so in the case of this country, that means no tap water). When the chicken is thawed, pat it well with a paper towel and submerge it in the brine. I brine the chicken on the last night, right before I go to bed.
– When you wake up the next morning, remove the chicken from the brine and pat it dry. Continue with the recipe, or if you’re cooking the chicken later in the day, refrigerate. Discard the brine.
– Mix well all the ingredients for the pan sauce. Aside.
– Stuff the chicken with 2-3 halves of garlic, 2-3 halves of onion, 1 bay leaf and 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
– Place the chicken in a baking tray and surround it with the rest of the garlic, onions and bay leaves. Crack black pepper over everything.
– Pour about half of your pan sauce over the chicken. Shake the pan a bit so that the sauce is evenly distributed. Save the remaining sauce for spreading.
– Place the chicken in a preheated 400 F oven and roast for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done (when the juices run clear if you pierce the thigh near the bone… check advice below for completely cooked thighs***!). While the chicken is roasting, brush it 3-4 times with the reserved oil and sauce. This will help infuse even more flavor, keep it longer, and give it a lovely bronze color. I also like to saute the onions and garlic while I’m at it.
– When the chicken is done, let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting it. Serve with pan juices and roasted onions and garlic.

Tip***: If it’s been an hour and a half and there’s still a little blood in your thigh juices, I like it lay back the chicken Cut the thighs away from the body, just enough for the leg and thighs to spread open, but not enough to completely separate them from the body. Put it back in the oven and cook a little longer until the thigh is cooked through. With your legs spread like this, it won’t take long. This allows the thighs to cook faster without overcooking the breast. This isn’t the prettiest, so if presentation is a concern, skip it and just cook until the juices run clear. Or slice the chicken before serving so no one is the wiser.

It sounds like a long and complicated recipe, but in fact it is nothing like that. The brine is super easy to put together and then all you have to do is put the chicken in the night before. The next day it’s just a matter of stuffing the bird and the pan with the very simple cut (just halfway through!) see The pan sauce is also easy to throw together… mix, pour and coat.

This is my first time brining a chicken and now I’m undercover! I love this combination too brine and stir. The brine gives the chicken flavor and also keeps it moist. So does the lining. Doing both doubles your chances of a delicious, tender, juicy roast chicken. And I’m always one to hedge my bets when I can.

For this adobo roast, I wanted both the brine and the roast itself to have adobo flavors. I adapted my brine this one from Trissalicious. Next, I made a paella sauce based on my own adobo recipes. The chicken absorbs the flavor of the brine and basting, and a delicious sauce develops when your adobo-paella sauce combines with the chicken’s juices during roasting. Onions and garlic are sweet and soft in the oven, and are delicious mashed with rice after a generous spoonful of sauce. That’s cool with some pickle or any type of native pickle (here I served it with ampalaya pickles, but I think some pickled labanos would be great too).

If you have any left over, shred the meat and fry it together with some of the garlic and leftover sauce to make adobo flakes. You can have this with garlic fried rice and a fried egg for breakfast, while reminiscing about the wonderful chicken dinner you had the night before.

What is your favorite roast chicken memory? What are your foolproof roast chicken tips? I’d love to hear them!

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