Chicken and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Happy Mother’s Day all!  This year I hosted the 3 Ms for Mother’s Day lunch (Mom, Mac and Missy – Missy is the dog).  The weather is nice and everyone is trying to watch what they eat so I was looking for something light, but filling.  Mom requested, “that shrimp dish you left in the fridge when we came to pick up Bridgette.”  Of course I had no idea what that was so I decided to incorporate some shrimp in whatever I picked and figure that would cover me.  Lettuce wraps are light and filling and fun so I decided on those.  I offered two fillings and two sauces. Yum!

The May issue of Cooking Light had a yummy recipe in the ‘Enlightened Vegetarian’ section.  I substituted ground chicken for tofu and added some shiitake mushrooms, but pretty much followed the recipe otherwise.  I’m sure the tofu would have been just fine, though I do recommend adding the mushrooms.  I did lay off the Siracha as my mom is very sensitive to spicy food.  I used a little chili-garlic sauce instead.  Just a little.  Oh, and I left out the rice.  You just don’t need it.  And I halved the sugar.  So maybe I didn’t follow the recipe so closely, but more or less.  For option 2  I pan seared some shrimp and made a separate lime-cilantro sauce for that.  I used the same ‘matchstick’ carrots and cucumbers and chopped cilantro for both. 

This comes together pretty easily.  I recommend that you do all your chopping ahead of time.  Once you start cooking things go pretty quickly.  Use the julienne function on the food processor for the vegetables.  I chopped all mine by hand and that was a huge pain.  Make the sauce first and set it aside.  It will be better at room temperature anyway.  If I’d had time to put the shrimp on skewers I would have grilled them.  That would have added a very nice flavor.  The pan searing was fine, but a little plain.  It picked up a little of the spice from the chicken filling, but not a ton.  I didn’t want a lot of that flavor because it wouldn’t have paired well with the lime sauce, but a little more would have been good.

The sauces were very good.  I love peanut sauce and this one is terrific.  It’s done on the stove so it thickens nicely.  You can always whisk in a little extra water if you let it simmer too long.  The other sauce started out as a lime salad dressing on Friday.  It was a little on the tart side so I added some extra olive oil to mellow out the citrus and then threw in fresh cilantro and minced ginger.  I added about 1/4 tsp of sugar to provide some balance.  Next time I’d use honey or brown sugar instead for a little depth of flavor.  Still it was good.  I whipped it all together with the stick blender so it took less than a minute to pull together.

You can put pretty much anything you like in a lettuce wrap and these two options are a nice place to start.  Enjoy!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Pretty easy.
Good for company? My company seemed to enjoy it.
Special shopping? Nope.

Chicken and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Lime-Cilantro Sauce:
1/3 C olive oil
juice of 2 limes
2 T fresh cilantro
1/2 t sugar

Filling:
1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
6 thinly sliced green onions
2/3 C sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
8 lettuce leaves

Directions

1. To prepare peanut sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallot, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and next 3 ingredients (through red pepper), and stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. Set aside.
2. To prepare lime cilantro sauce blender all ingredients together until fully combined and creamy.
3. To prepare filling cook chicken in heavy skillet. Remove and set aside.
4. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add green onions; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken and mushrooms, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce; sauté 1 minute. Remove from pan and keep warm.
5. Saute shrimp in skillet, 1-2 minutes on each side.
6. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture and/or shrimp into each lettuce leaf. Top with carrots and cucumbers. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve with sauces.

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