I find it almost impossible to think creatively about ground meat. When it’s in the fridge staring back at my weeknight-at-six-o-clock face (not a pretty sight I can imagine) my brain only goes in two directions: chili or burgers. Yaaawwwn. So when my former colleague, the genius food stylist Victoria Granof developed this recipe for Cookie (look for it in the Time for Dinner Cookbook, too) it was huge. The recipe calls for ground pork, but it’s honestly just as delicious with ground turkey, and makes good use of sweet, kid-friendly Chinese five-spice, which every family kitchen should stock in its arsenal. It’s also a very forgiving meal: last time I served the rolls (above) I was working with a picked-over pantry (no peanuts, no carrots) and — can you believe? — we all lived to tell. Click to the jump for the recipe.
Lettuce Hand Rolls
Recipe by Victoria Granof
1 1/2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground pork (or turkey)
1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
8 to 10 sturdy lettuce leaves such as romaine
1 carrot, shredded
1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons lime juice
1. In a skillet over medium-low heat, cook 1 clove of the garlic in the oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
2. Add the pork, five-spice powder, brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce. Raise heat to high and cook until the pork is browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Scoop the pork mixture into the lettuce leaves. Garnish with the carrot, cucumber, and peanuts.
4. Combine the sugar and lime juice with the remaining garlic and soy sauce to make the dipping sauce.