In high school my best friend and I used to go for special lunches to P.F. Changs. We would order 1 appetizer, 1 entree, and 1 dessert…which was perfect to get to have a little of everything. While we would try different entrees, we always stuck with the same appetizer and dessert. The appetizer was always their lettuce wraps and for dessert we would have the fried bananas (ah-mazing, by the way). And last week when I was cleaning out my freezer I found a bunch of ground turkey from when it was by one get one free. So first we had stuffed peppers, then we had Greek Burgers, and then I was at a big loss. Until I was flipping through Food & Wine and I saw their version of lettuce wraps. It reminded me of all the great times we used to have, so I ended up making them for dinner that very night! Jorge and I sat on the floor and ate them while watching Big Bang Theory. It was perfect!
I ended up not following Food & Wine’s version at all, but I would like to say that they inspired me! I actually tossed this recipe together by what I had in my kitchen at the time…and what tasted good flavor wise. This was a perfect dinner for us, but would also make a great appetizer as long as you have lots of napkins on hand! And even better, it saves extremely well! We had a good amount of leftovers, so Jorge took them for lunch and he said they were just as good the second time around!
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 lb extra lean ground turkey (or any other ground meat)
1 medium shallot
1 garlic clove, minced
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
butter lettuce leaves (or your favorite lettuce), for serving
In a large wok (or non stick skillet), heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for 15 seconds, then add ground turkey. Break up the meat with a spoon, tossing/stirring often, until meat is cooked through.
Once the turkey is cooked through, check and see if there is a lot of grease left over in the bottom of the pan. If there is, drain the meat, and then re-add to the wok. If not, skip to the next step.
Add the scallions, lemongrass, rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and garlic chili sauce. Toss well to ensure everything is coated. Allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes and remove from heat and sprinkle with cilantro.
To serve, separate leaves of lettuce and wash with warm water; pat dry. Spoon the turkey mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf and eat like a taco! Enjoy!
A Novice Chef Blog Original