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Place the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, black peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large, nonreactive sauté pan, and then nestle the chicken thighs, skin side down, into the pan. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, and then cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, and then cover and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Uncover the pan, and then increase the heat to high and return the sauce to a boil. While occasionally turning and basting the chicken, continue boiling the sauce, uncovered, until it is reduced by half and thickens slightly, 5–7 minutes. Serve with steamed white rice.
Variations: While the sauce is reducing, transfer the chicken thighs, skin side up, to a foil-lined sheet pan. Brown the chicken thighs underneath the broiler for 3–5 minutes.Use freshly ground black pepper instead of whole peppercorns.For a “drier” chicken adobo, you can reduce the sauce until it is almost completely evaporated. The chicken will then begin to fry in its own fat that is still left in the pan. This is how my grandmother finishes her adobo. For a saucier adobo, double the amount of soy sauce and vinegar.To make this adobo as an appetizer, use 2 lbs (1 kg) of chicken wings instead of thighs.