Some type of meat or vegetable or cheese or possibly fruit bundled into a wrap always alerts the diner that something wonderful is about to be discovered. Consider the enchilada rolled up with plump shreds of chicken in a spicy sauce topped with cheese. Mexico also gives us its soft shell taco that supports flakey fish, shredded lettuce and salsa for a refreshing summer dinner. The Italians offer us pasta tubes stuffed with cheese and sauce in magical manicotti. From Eastern Europe we get a cheesy surprise in blintzes. And who can resist a French crepe stuffed with seafood or perhaps filled with strawberries for a decadent dessert? We can thank Polish cooks for cabbage leaves wrapped around pork and rice and bathed in a tart tomato sauce for this wonderful winter dinner.
Which brings me to lettuce cups. A favorite Chinese dish is minced pigeon or squab cradled in pale celadon cups. This crisp outer casing is the perfect receptacle for the rich meat and mushroom filling. Small servings work well for appetizers or load them up for a hearty dinner.
I substituted low fat turkey for the more exotic pigeon. I also omitted the oft used hoisin sauce to reduce the sodium content. A sprinkle of sesame oil adds another dimension of flavor without the salt.
Wrap your dinner in style tonight with a little Asian flair. Your diners will be delighted as they discover the savory treat held inside these crunchy lettuce cups!
Saute onions in oil.
Add ground turkey.
Add soy sauce.
Add shitake mushrooms.
Drizzle with sesame oil.
Scoop mixture into lettuce cup.
Serve your lettuce wraps with a side of ponzu sauce.
Lettuce Wraps with Turkey and Shitake Mushrooms
1 Lb. ground turkey
½ large onion, finely chopped
5 Tbsp canola oil
1 cup shredded kale
1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 oz shitake mushrooms, minced
1 head iceberg lettuce, separated into “cups”
Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a large pan and sauté the onions on medium heat. Add the ground turkey and break up with a fork as it cooks. You don’t want any big chunks.
Add the remaining oil, kale, and soy sauce cook about 8 minutes.
Add minced garlic and shitake mushrooms and cook for just 2 more minutes. Drizzle with sesame oil to taste. Don’t overdo.
Scoop mixture into lettuce cups and serve with a side of ponzu sauce (citrusy soy sauce)
Makes about 8 lettuce cups