Monday, January 9, 2012

Sweet-n-Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

"Why don't we eat like this every night?" my husband asked me tonight.  I asked what he meant.  He said that tonight was the perfect homemade meal.  It was satisfying, fresh, flavorful, and healthy.  I admittedly took mild offense, because I'm a really good cook and we eat homemade foods most nights.  Also, admittedly, I've been in a cooking rut lately and have been cooking lots of the same things over and over, so I got over mild offense pretty quickly.  He wasn't kidding though.  This meal was really outstanding.  It came from a Food Network show I've never seen before, and just happened to stop on as I was folding laundry.  When I was finished folding, I immediately packed up my toddler and went to the store to purchase ingredients to make this.

This would be an incredible dish on a warm summer night, but it was so refreshing in the middle of winter, on the Monday just after a snow storm.  It was like a little vacation on a plate.

Recipe adapted from Melissa D'Arabian of "Ten Dollar Dinners"


For the Filling
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, chopped (I did about 1/4-1/2 inch pieces)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
8 oz white mushrooms, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced, pressed or grated with a microplane
One 6-ounce can of water chestnuts, chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

Sweet-n-Spicy Sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons sriracha (depending on how hot you like it - this amount is still edible but has a nice kick)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sesame oil

For serving
1 head iceberg lettuce, rinsed, core removed, and peeled into layers
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup bean sprouts

To make the filling: Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat.  Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink.  Add the mushrooms, garlic, green onions, and chestnuts, and cook until the mushrooms are tender.  (When they were almost done I noticed lots of liquid, so I used a spoon to remove some of the liquid).  In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 tbsp vinegar, and brown sugar and whisk to combine.  Pour into the hot pan and cook, stirring constantly, about one minute.  Turn off heat and make the sauce.

To make the sauce:  In a medium bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients and whisk until well-combined. 

Serve the lettuce wraps by placing a lettuce leaf on a plate.  Spoon about 1/2 cup of the chicken filling onto the lettuce.  Top with bean sprouts, cilantro, and carrots.  Drizzle some of the sauce (to taste) into the wrap.  Roll and enjoy.  These are so messy, but SO worth it.  We served them with Asian Rice Salad, and my husband and kids even added the rice into their wraps.

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