Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

In Richmond, Spring barely exists. It often feels like we just skip right from cold weather to hot, hot, hot. We should just retire the name Spring and call it Sprummer. But even if the weather isn’t as transitional as we would like, what we eat can be. This is a great, light meal for Sprummer. It’s filling without being heavy, and it’s healthy so we can fit into all our Sprummer clothes.

I found this recipe on Pass the Sushi, and unfortunately I had thought we had hoisin sauce, but we didn’t. So instead, we added some spicy Szechuan sauce and sesame oil, and just kind of adjusted the recipe to taste. It actually turned out great—a happy accident. So, I’ll share the recipe as it was originally, but feel free to play with it and taste along the way. You could use any ground meat you want—but chicken and turkey are healthy options.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 lb ground chicken (or any other ground meat)
1 medium shallot, diced small
1 garlic clove, minced
3 scallions
2 large stalks lemongrass-tender pale inner core only, minced
1/2 cup chopped cashews
1 teaspoonful seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoonful garlic chili sauce
small handful of cilantro, chopped
lettuce leaves

Pull out your Wok if you have one, or a deep skillet pan if you don’t, and heat the oil over medium heat. We used olive oil because we didn’t have canola oil and I’m not sure it made a difference. Toss in the shallot and garlic and cook quickly for 15 seconds before adding the chicken. Stir and break up the meat until it’s cooked through, and drain any grease that comes up.

Add the cashews, scallions, rice vinegar, hoisin, soy sauce and chili sauce. Also the lemongrass if you have it. We couldn’t find it at Kroger. You could also throw in water chestnuts if you’re feeling crazy. This is where we added sesame oil, which I really like and think added a lot, but it’s something that needs to be used sparingly. Toss it all around and cook for another 2-3 minutes until everything is coated. Then take it off the heat and sprinkle the cilantro. Serve in clean lettuce leafs. We used just green leaf lettuce because that’s the best that Kroger had, but butter lettuce or bibb lettuce is probably the best if you have it. Iceberg can also work in a pinch.

Anyway, this was a great meal, healthy and surprisingly husband approved. Next hot Sprummer night when you’re looking for a light meal, try it! 

(Click here for printable recipe)

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