Well, basketball season has ended and we are moving really quickly into baseball and softball season here in our home. I love this time of year, mainly because softball/baseball season means SPRING! Summer can’t be far behind!
So tonight for a quick and easy dinner we had Asian Lettuce Cups filled with Spicy Ground Turkey and Veggie Fried Rice. We love PF Chang’s version, and I have tried many versions to replicate them without loving any of them. This recipe while different from PF Chang’s is equally tasty! Kids love these because they are finger food and can be a bit messy which is half the fun!
I rarely buy iceberg lettuce because it just doesn’t compare nutritionally to greener greens, and it really lacks flavor, BUT it is super crunchy and cool which makes it the perfect lettuce to form cups for the filling. I always think of my mom when I clean iceberg as I slam the head on the counter to get the core to break away from the leaves. Sometimes it takes a few whacks and my family thinks I am a little crazy!
The filling can be made with either ground chicken or ground turkey
and can be warmed easily in the microwave for kids who need to eat at different times. The whole family loved them which makes it one of those great recipes that make family dinners fast, easy and delicious! Enjoy!
Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling
Adapted from California Sol Food, by the Junior League of San Diego and shared with me by my chef friend Margie Mackenzie of Nutmeg Kitchens in Portolo, California. Thanks Margie!
1 T peanut oil or vegetable oil
3 T minced red onion or shallots
2 T minced garlic (I used minced garlic from a jar)
2 T grated ginger root
1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey
4 T low sodium soy sauce
1 T Chile Garlic Sauce (or slightly more if you like spicy foods)
1 tsp. fish sauce ( optional)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (about 1/2 large bunch)
1/3 cup chopped peanuts (optional — especially for braces wearers!)
1 head iceberg lettuce
Chop onion and set aside. Peel ginger root, then grate with the large side of a cheese grater, and chop garlic if using fresh garlic. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan, add onion and saute about 2 minutes, then add garlic and ginger root and saute about one minute more.
Add ground turkey to frying pan (with a bit more oil if needed) and break apart and spread out with turner, then add soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and fish sauce if using. Cook until the turkey is brown and crumbling apart, and the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
While turkey cooks, wash and chop fresh cilantro to make 1 cup. Remove the core end from lettuce, separate leaves, and wash in salad spinner and spin dry (or wash under running water and dry with paper towels.) Chop peanuts and put in small bowl to serve at the table.
When turkey is done, add chopped cilantro and cook 1-2 minutes more. Serve filling and lettuce leaves in separate bowls, with chopped peanuts in another small bowl. Each person takes a lettuce leaf, fills with desired amount of turkey mixture, adds chopped peanuts, and then eats the mixture from the lettuce cup.
I fold the lettuce cup over when I eat it, so it’s kind of taco-shaped, but some people like to wrap the lettuce around the filling like an enchilada. However you do it, it’s delicious!