Saturday, July 5, 2014

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

When I was in culinary school, I learned something extremely practical for cooking that will help (haunt) me forever. This learning experience is called "mis en place" or in French means "everything in it's place". Before you even turn on the stove you are supposed to get everything ready for what you are about to cook. How many times have you started a recipe and halfway through realized..."Oh shoot...I don't have that.." In hopes your neighbor has that ingredient you are basically stuck. I have, many times! If you pre-plan or gather your ingredients before you cook you have time to quickly run out or have that special someone in your life run out for you. This is especially helpful for certain types of meals like stir-fry or baking when these ingredients need to be handy for it to turn it. It's a timing game. Tonight I made a recipe I make often, especially on nights I want a lighter dinner that I feel great about eating, turkey lettuce wraps!
Like I said, I've made this dish hundreds of times and each time tweak it a bit based on what I have on hand and who I'm feeding. For instance, I like adding chopped mushrooms to mine but my boyfriend would never eat it if he knew they were in there! Also, I like it spicy but if I were feeding this to my mom I would have to scale way back on the heat! If you aren't sure what spice level you can handle I would be modest and serve Sriracha on the side... You can always add more but you can't take it out!
First things first, get your music station ready and pour yourself a beverage. This is a pretty crucial step.
Now chop up fresh ginger, garlic, yellow onion, and a can of water chestnuts. There was probably a cup of diced water chestnuts, 1/4 cup of onion, 2 Tbl of garlic and 1/4 cup of fresh ginger. I had a diced jalapeño left over, this is optional for extra heat. You'd want to chop that up at this time.
In a hot pan drizzle in a little olive oil and reduce heat to medium. Add in the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.
Next, add in the water chestnuts, ginger, and jalapeños. Season with salt and pepper and sauté for a few minutes until the jalapeño is tender.
Add 1 1/2 pounds of ground turkey breast and break it up with the back of a spoon. Cook over medium high heat until the turkey is almost cooked through, about 8 minutes stiring every couple minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Now it's time for the transformation! I added 1 Tbl low sodium soy sauce, 2 heaping Tbl of Hoisin, 1/4 cup of peanut sauce, 1 tsp of sesame oil, and 1 Tbl of Sriracha. Stir to combine and continue cooking for a few minutes.
Stir in chopped green onions and taste/adjust seasoning. 
I used Boston lettuce but use whatever you can find at the store. I also serve the turkey mixture over a bed of warm brown rice and garnish with thinly sliced bell peppers, carrots, green onions or cilantro, and an extra drizzle of Sriracha. I always finish it with some fresh lime juice to cut the heat.

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