Come For Dinner, We’re Having Chicken Lettuce Wraps

February 14, 2020
Come For Dinner, We're Having Chicken Lettuce Wraps - Butterhead lettuce leaves make a nice wrapper for a filling of chicken, water chestnuts, and veggies

Happy Valentine's Day!

Poppy – February 2020

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What are you up to this long weekend?

Three day weekends are always the best, and I love it when Monday is actually a second Sunday.  Mostly, I hope you're able to put all of your tasks and to-dos on simmer to enjoy some peaceful days.

At our house, we're looking forward to this month's Spaghetti Saturday.  It promises to be a fun group, and my daughter sent word that she's coming too(!)  She moved back to Iowa last summer; even though we live 30 miles apart, I don't see her nearly as much as I'd like

While we're sticking close to tradition and serving everybody's favorite meatballs, lately I've been thinking about shaking things up a bit.  Maybe a Lasagna or Baked ZitiTiramisu for dessert?

True confessions?  I become completely smitten with an Italian grandma from New Jersey and her Youtube channel.  She's absolutely adorable, and everything she cooks looks so good.  She wraps pizza dough in blankets on the sofa like she's tucking them in for a nap, shows us photos of her grandchildren, and randomly breaks into song.

Whoever thought of capturing her making her recipes in this way is a genius — what a family treasure.

Come For Dinner, We're Having Chicken Lettuce Wraps - Butterhead lettuce leaves make a nice wrapper for a filling of chicken, water chestnuts, and veggies

Also on the agenda?  It's my birthday(!)

My husband asked the other day what I'd like.  Should we go out for a nice dinner?  Maybe a gift certificate to the spa?  A weekend away at a nice hotel?  And while they all sounded fine, I told him what I really wanted to do was ..

play Bingo at the VFW

?!?!?!

When I was a kid, I have the best memories of playing Bingo with my grandma.  All of the old ladies and me.  I have no idea if we won or not, but it sure was fun.  She even bought me my own dauber to mark the numbers

Every time I drive by the VFW, I see the sign and think, “that would be so much fun”  And now we have a date.

I haven't looked forward to anything this much in such a long time.

Friends, whatever you're up to, I hope you have a good one!

Come For Dinner, We're Having Chicken Lettuce Wraps - Butterhead lettuce leaves make a nice wrapper for a filling of chicken, water chestnuts, and veggies

Tody's recipe?  Chicken lettuce wraps.  One of our favorites

There are so many things I love about living downtown, and the variety of food within walking distance is one of them.  I'm a food writer, an avid home cook, and I also have a great love for carry-out.  What's not to like?  It's easy, tasty, and there's always a way to have it delivered right to the lobby

Satisfying a weeknight take-out craving at home can be quite a challenge.

I won't promise that a homemade rendition is any faster, but they're reliably less expensive, far more eco-friendly, and you know exactly what's in your meal.  Not to mention the bonus of skipping the fried egg rolls you're tempted to add with just a click

You might even discover your version is a whole lot better

Come For Dinner, We're Having Chicken Lettuce Wraps - Butterhead lettuce leaves make a nice wrapper for a filling of chicken, water chestnuts, and veggies

Bibb lettuce leaves are soft enough to cradle other ingredients yet sturdy enough to hold together, and their naturally cupped shape begs you to fill them with something savory.  Tender morsels of chicken and crunchy vegetables stir-fried in a deeply flavored sauce is a nice choice.

This recipe is as straightforward as any stir-fry could be.  And, like most stir-fry recipes, it's adaptable.  Maybe chicken isn't for you?  Substitute bite-size pieces of turkey or firm tofu cubes.  Have a stash of carrots in the fridge?  Snow peas in the freezer?  Simply add them

Here, water chestnuts and celery offer a nice bit of crunch.  It's hard to beat hoisin sauce as an accompaniment.

A couple of notes

If you have low-sodium soy sauce, I'd use it here, and dry sherry is a nice substitute for Chinese rice wine

Really Enjoy!

xoxo

~ Adapted from Vegetables Illustrated by America's Test Kitchen

Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 tsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp cornstarch

Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
  • 2 tsp soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp natural sugar
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes

Stir-Fry

  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or another oil with a high smoke point)
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into ¼" pieces
  • 6 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
  • ½ cup water chestnuts, cut into ¼" pieces
  • 2 scallions, white parts minced, and green parts sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
  • Hoisin sauce

Instructions

Chicken

  • Place the chicken on a large plate in a single layer and freeze until it's firm and beginning to harden around edges (~ 20 minutes)
  • Whisk rice wine, soy sauce, oil, and cornstarch together in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Pulse half of the chicken in a food processor until chopped into ¼" pieces (~ 8-10 pulses). Transfer to bowl with rice wine mix and repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Toss chicken to coat and refrigerate for 15 minutes

Sauce

  • In a small bowl, add the sauce ingredients. Whisk until combined. Set aside

Stir-Fry

  • Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a skillet (or wok) over high heat until smoking.
  • Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until opaque (~ 3-4 minutes). Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet
  • Heat remaining tablespoon of the oil in the now-empty skillet over high heat until smoking. Add celery and mushrooms. Cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms have reduced in size by half and celery is crisp-tender (~ 3-4 minutes)
  • Add water chestnuts, scallion whites, and garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant (~ 1 minute)
  • Whisk sauce to recombine. Return chicken to skillet and add the sauce, tossing to combine.
  • Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with scallion greens.
  • Serve with lettuce leaves and hoisin sauce.
Serves: 4
Nutrition + Show
Rating:
Calories 305
Total Fat 18g
Saturated Fat 2.5g
Carbohydrates 7.7g
Fiber 1.8g
Sugars 1.8g
Protein 26g
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