Hello, lovely people! I greet you today, glass of red wine in hand, a little later than I originally planned to! This morning, Benjamin and I went back to the Agua Dulce Farms for a little volunteering- aka playing with pretty lettuces, taking photos, going home with said pretty lettuces, etc. It was wonderful, as per the uzhe. Today in particular we left with tons of garlic chives (literally my favorite), rainbow chard, mustard greens, different varieties of watercress, and 5 types of lettuces- I kind of feel like someone is just handing me gold every time I leave. I'll be sharing some photos from all the fun with them v soon.
When we were done, we were staaaarved so we booked it for a good sammie, and then both promptly fell asleep on the couch- and I'm sooo not a nap person. This is mainly because they usually make me feel groggy AF, AKA my general vibes this very moment. I fully intend on peeling my boo-tay off the couch to make this taco-esque salad that I crave probably once a week, but before I do that, how about we get into a little something fresh?
I whipped up these hoisin-lime chicken and quinoa lettuce wraps a few weeks ago, and they've made multiple reappearances since. First off, you know I love a good "whatever the hell you have in your fridge" situation. This is 100% that. Mix up your lettuces, herbs, toppings- as long as it's fresh and in season, it's usually gold. Secondly, this is such a delicious, easy dinner to pack up for a picnic, and it won't leave you feeling sluggish.
For this little number I opted for a tangy hoisin-lime sauce to add to chicken and leeks as it's caramelizing away in your skillet. Water chestnuts add the classic lettuce wrap X factor (I'm not going to say PF Changs, but we're all thinking it- DON'T LIE). Basil and cilantro really add next level depth of freshness, so I highly recommend not skimping. Radishes bring welcome crunch, along with bean sprouts. A spritz of lime, and a little drizzle of sesame vinaigrette add just the right level of tartness. Avocado slices and Sriracha are also welcome additions here. As per usual with this blog- not a place for rules.
Rinse your quinoa under cold water for about two minutes. Doing this removes the slightly mineral-y, metallic taste quinoa can have so don't skimp on the rinse! Squeeze the quinoa in your hands, making sure the whole cupful is thoroughly rinsed. Then, to a small saucepan on medium heat, add one tablespoon of your butter, and once melted, your chopped shallots, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Saute until your shallots become translucent, and add your quinoa, toasting in your butter/shallot mixture for a minute or so. Add your vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Once your broth is at a nice boil, add your remaining butter, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. When your quinoa is done, fluff with a fork, cover, and set aside in a seal-able bowl.
Next, heat a large cast iron skillet on medium-high, and add 2 tbs. of your sesame oil. Once heated, add your chopped leek, and saute until it starts to become translucent. Add your chicken, plus a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper. Break up with a wooden spoon, or spatula, and allow to start to brown on one side before moving again. While you're letting your chicken begin to brown, whisk together your Hoisin sauce, lime zest + juice, soy sauce, Sriracha, Worcestershire, and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. Saute your chicken for about 3 more minutes, add your water chestnuts, garlic, and stir in your sauce. Lower your heat to medium-low, and cook until sauce is slightly reduced, and chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add to another bowl.
Serve with 2 heads of the lettuce of your choosing- but I highly recommend butter lettuce or a nice red leaf. Both are crisp but with enough of a bend to make the perfect wrap. Shaved radishes and beansprouts make perfectly crunchy accompaniments, and basil and cilantro add a burst of leafy freshness. Add a drizzle of sesame vinaigrette, some Sriracha, a squeeze of lime, and these babies are ready to go- literally.
I love the layers of fresh crispiness from all the produce paired with the tangy chicken and fluffy quinoa. This would even be so good as a taco application. I'll get working on that. Now, I'll leave you to location-scout for somewhere cute to eat these. I'm off to my second glass of wine, cat pajamas, and an early bedtime.
Hoisin-Lime Chicken & Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
For the chicken:
2 lbs. ground chicken (If you can get find organic, air-chilled, even better!)
1 leek, chopped
1 small can water chestnuts, drained, rinsed, & chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tbs. hoisin sauce
Zest + juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tbs. Sriracha
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbs. + 1 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil, divided
Salt & pepper to taste
For the quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 small shallots, minced
2 tbs. butter
One head butter lettuce, washed, leaves removed
One head red leaf lettuce, washed, leaves removed
2 cups bean sprouts
8 radishes, thinly sliced
1 bunch each fresh basil & cilantro
3 limes, cut into wedges
Rice vinaigrette (1 part rice vinegar, to 2 parts sesame oil, juice of 1/4 lime, salt & pepper to taste)
Your favorite Sriracha
Extra hoisin + soy sauce