A good Filipino adobo is all about the proper vinegar/soy sauce ratio. Follow my tips to make this throw-it-all-in-the-pot recipe a winner.
Add the ingredients from the chicken to the dried bay leaves in a large pot. Bring the contents to a boil, leaving the pot uncovered. Don't stir the liquid until it has come to a rolling boil. Cover, reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the chicken is tender, 40-45 minutes. If using the chilies add them to the adobo 10 minutes before the end of the cooking time. You can also leave the pot uncovered during the last 10 minutes of cooking to reduce the sauce a little. Serve with rice.
If you choose to marinate the meat before cooking, simply combine the ingredients from the chicken to the bay leaves (same as above) and let sit for at least one hour before cooking.
Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and brown the chicken pieces, skin side down first, in batches. Brown three minutes each side. Add the chicken pieces back to the pot along with the vinegar, soy sauce, water, garlic, black pepper and bay leaves and cook as in original instructions above.
Marinating and browning the meat before cooking:
Marinating and/or browning the chicken before cooking it adds color and additional flavor but are not absolutely necessary. The chicken absorbs a lot of flavor as it braises in the vinegar/soy sauce even without these steps. Also, this is a dish that improves over time so reheated leftovers have more complex, concentrated flavor.
For Larger Quantities of Meat:
For over five pounds of chicken you can use 1 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup soy sauce.