Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps

Today I went to the grocery store, and as I was picking up my receipt the coupon machine spit out a coupon just for me: Pamper Diapers. Now I have never ever bought anything close to a baby item, not even baby powder. So my nose did a scrunch as I tried to figure out just how they think they can pin me so well. We live in a strange time.
Originally this recipe calls for a pork loin that you cut into chucks and process in a food processor. But this summer J. and I bought a quarter of a cow and with it came 37lbs of ground beef. So I am always looking for interesting and fun ways to incorporate the large amount of ground beef we have. There is a tad bit of sugar and rice, but it is nominal and necessary. I also included Cellophane noodles (made from mung beans) to give it some texture . You can omit this if you want. This recipe was quick, easy and had just enough heat to spice up this cold January day.
Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps (adapted from Cooks Illustrated)
  • 1lb of ground beef (preferably grass fed organic)
  • 2 1/2tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 oz. package of dried Cellophane noodles
  • 1tablespoon white rice (see note)
  • 1/4cup low-sodium chicken broth (or water)
  • 4 scallions sliced
  • 3tablespoons juice from 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3tablespoons roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1head Romaine lettuce , washed and dried, leaves separated and left whole

Instructions

  1.  Heat a sauce pan of water until simmering. Turn off heat and drop in noodles and let set for at least 20 minutes. Drain noodles.
  2. Heat rice in small skillet over medium-high heat; cook, stirring constantly, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool 5 minutes. Grind rice with spice grinder, mini food processor, blender or mortar and pestle until it resembles fine meal, 10 to 30 seconds (you should have about 1 tablespoon rice powder).
  3.  Bring broth to simmer in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook, stirring frequently, until about half of beef is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon rice powder over beef; continue to cook, stirring constantly, until remaining beef is no longer pink, 1 to 1½ minutes longer. Transfer beef to large bowl; let cool 10 minutes.
  4.  Add remaining 1½ tablespoons fish sauce, remaining 2 teaspoons rice powder, shallots, lime juice, sugar, red pepper flakes, mint, and cilantro to beef; toss to combine. Serve with lettuce leaves.
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