ASIAN LETTUCE WRAPS
I am crazy for these things! They are so flavorful and addictive, I could eat them every week. Using large lettuce leaves as your wraps instead of tortillas, and cooking with ground turkey instead of beef makes this a nice and healthy meal! If you are cooking for more than 3-4 people, or if you are like me and enjoy packing leftovers for lunch the next day, I would suggest doubling the batch.
1lb ground turkey (or beef)
1 large onion
1 bunch of scallions
2-4 garlic cloves (I am obsessed with garlic so I tend to eyeball it until it looks like enough to meet my needs. I would suggest 2 if you aren’t as big of a fan)
2 teaspoons pickled ginger
1 can (8oz) water chestnuts
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (this is another one that I eyeball. I usually end up adding a little more than 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
Asian chile pepper sauce (optional, but recommended for the spice!)
First things first: chop, shred and process everything that needs chopping, shredding and processing! This will make your life easier once the skillet is hot. I chopped my onions and scallions, drained and chopped the water chestnuts, shredded the carrots, and used a food processor on the garlic and ginger. Also, take WHOLE lettuce leaves from your bunch and rinse and pat dry for later.
Over high heat, warm the olive oil in a large skillet. Brown the ground turkey (or beef), stirring often. Drain, remove from the pan and set aside for later.
Using the same pan (without wiping out any leftover juice from the meat) cook your onions over medium heat until slightly brown. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce and chili pepper sauce (optional), and stir. Reduce heat if necessary.
Mix in your chopped scallions, water chestnuts, and sesame oil. Your mixture should look like the image to the right. Nice and saucy!
Next, add your shredded carrots and peanuts before finally mixing in the cooked ground turkey or beef. Stir until evenly coated.
This is when I get a little wild and throw in a little more here and a little more there. I tend to drizzle in more hoisin and chili pepper sauce for the texture, flavor and color. This, of course, is based on preference. I prefer a little bit of a spicy kick. If you don’t, stay away from the chili pepper sauce!
While this steeps for a few minutes on low heat, arrange your lettuce leaves on a plate. Pile large spoonfuls of the meat mixture in the center for presentation and you’re ready to eat!