Asian Lettuce Cups

For Thanksgiving this year, I was trying to come up with out-of-the-box ideas since our family isn’t big on the traditional turkey/stuffing/potatoes menu. I decided to make stuffed cabbage (using this Smitten Kitchen recipe but adding some fennel seeds and caraway seeds), and Asian lettuce cups. Unfortunately, COVID always changes plans, so I didn’t end up making this for Thanksgiving, but I did make it last night, and my entire family willingly ate it! Yay!

Here’s what you need:

For the filling:

2 tablespoons peanut oil

1 red onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves minced, or 1 tablespoon fresh garlic paste

2 pounds ground turkey, chicken, or pork, or a combination (I did half turkey, half pork)

1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped

1/2 cup peanuts, crushed

2 green onions, sliced

1 large handful of cilantro, chopped

For the sauce:

4 tablespoons soy sauce

5 tablespoons hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon sweet chili sauce

1 teaspoon powdered ginger

For the wraps:

1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated

shredded cheddar (optional)

hot sauce (optional) (Note that I made this mild since my kids were eating it too. However, before I ate it, I stirred in some Gojuchang–spicy Korean hot paste, and my husband added hot sauce)

Here’s what you do:

1. Heat the peanut oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the onion and saute for a minute or two. Stir in the garlic. Then add the ground meat, and cook until the meat is browned/lightly crisped, about 7-10 minutes.

2. While the meat is cooking, prepare the sauce. Add all the sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.

3. Once the meat is browned, stir in the water chestnuts. Then, add the sauce and combine well. Allow to cook for a minute or two. Then stir in the crushed peanuts, green onion and cilantro, and cook another minute or two.

4. To assemble the lettuce cups, take one leaf of butter lettuce, add a scoop of the filling, and, if desired, top with hot sauce or cheddar cheese.


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