Claudia told me that these days she often uses dried sour cherries for this recipe, since they're available year-round. To substitute dried cherries, use half the amount specified in the recipe, and soak them in water for about 30 minutes before using. Another year-round substitute would be frozen sour cherries, thawed. But to be honest, nothing is quite as good as fresh sour cherries.
Serve the meatballs and cherries with, on, or in pita bread. I like to scoop up the meatballs with the bread.
2. In a large pan, heat the cherries over medium-high heat, adding sugar or lemon juice to taste. Once the cherries have released their juices, mash them a bit with a fork or potato masher. Add the meatballs and simmer them until they're cooked through and the cherry juice has thickened a bit. If the juice becomes thick before the meatballs are cooked, add water and continue cooking.
Note: For a picnic, serve the meatballs at room temperature or cold. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. For dining at home, or a backyard picnic, the meatballs are also good warm (with warm pitas, too).
When Marvin Gapultos had a craving for adobo but didn’t know how to make it, he decided to learn his family’s recipes. Since then, he has shared the flavors of Filipino food through his Los Angeles-based food truck The Manila Machine, on his blog Burnt Lumpia, and in The Adobo Road Cookbook.