Lettuce wraps are like the new, carb-free taco. Inexpensive ground pork is the heart of this tasty meal that is easy to serve family-style; everyone at the table assembles their own wraps in a soft leaf of butter lettuce, topping them however they like. To finish, bananas transform into a sticky toffee delight when heated with butter and sugar; they make a perfect ending with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a few crumbled cookies for added crunch.
Hoisin pork lettuce wraps
Canola oil, for cooking
2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil (optional)
1 lb (454 g) ground pork or turkey
1 red pepper, cored and diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp (15 ml) grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped cilantro stems
2–3 green onions, chopped
1 tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce
1 tbsp (15 ml) lime juice or rice vinegar
1/4–1/2 cup (60–125 ml) hoisin sauce
1 head butter or leaf lettuce
chopped peanuts, sliced green onion, chopped fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for garnish (optional)
Sticky toffee banana sundaes
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
1/4 cup (60 ml) brown sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) maple or Roger’s Golden syrup
vanilla or coconut ice cream, for serving
2 shortbread cookies, Digestive biscuits or graham crackers, crumbled
In a large, heavy skillet, heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high heat. Add the sesame oil (if using), ground pork and red pepper; cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until the peppers soften and the meat turns opaque. Add the garlic, ginger, cilantro and onions. Cook until the excess moisture cooks off and the meat starts to brown. Add the soy sauce and rice vinegar, cook for another minute, then add hoisin sauce to taste, stirring to coat everything well. Heat through.
At the same time, heat the butter in another skillet and slice in the bananas – crosswise or lengthwise. Cook for 2 minutes, or until they start to turn golden. Sprinkle with brown sugar, drizzle with syrup and gently stir to dissolve the sugar and warm the caramel without breaking up the bananas. Remove from heat and set aside.
Serve the meat mixture with butter lettuce leaves and garnishes; let everyone fill their own leaves, then top with peanuts, green onions, cilantro and a squeeze of lime.
Rewarm the bananas if necessary, top with a scoop of ice cream, a drizzle of the sauce from the pan and some crumbled cookies.
436 calories, 21 g fat (9.8 g saturated fat, 8.9 g monounsaturated fat, 2.2 g polyunsaturated fat), 68 mg cholesterol, 45 g carbohydrate, 14.9 g protein, 3 g fibre.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, August/September 2014.