Week 19, Meal 1: Pork ‘n’ slaw

If I’m eating pork ‘n’ slaw, it’s usually pulled pork and coleslaw, with a big ol’ hunk of cornbread to sop up the sauce and juice on the bottom of the plate.

For the first time, those words take on another meaning, with Week 19, Meal 1: Vietnamese pork meatball lettuce wrap with carrot and cucumber salad in fish sauce and lime vinaigrette.

I’m not really a fan of lettuce wraps — they’re kinda wimpy IMO — but three of these wraps, made with big ol’ leafs of bibb lettuce and stuffed full of savory, lemon-y pork did the trick.

An added bonus, I didn’t get the sleepies like I usually do after a plate of BBQ.

Week 19, Meal 1: Vietnamese pork meatball lettuce wrap with carrot and cucumber salad in fish sauce and lime vinaigrette

10-12 oz lean ground pork (90%-10% preferably)
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed sliced thin
1 shallot, small dice
1 T chopped mint
1 T chopped basil
2 T fish sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste

Carrot and cucumber salad
1 large carrot, ribbons
1 English (hothouse) cucumber, ribbons, outer green only
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed, sliced
3 limes, juiced
2 T fish sauce
1 T chopped mint
1 serrano chile, seeds removed, chopped
1-2 T honey (to taste)

1 head bibb lettuce, leaves separated and cleaned

In a food processor, combine 10-12 oz. lean ground pork, 1 stalk lemongrass (sliced), 1 shallot (diced), 1 T chopped mint, 1 T chopped basil, 2 T fish sauce, 1 clove garlic and salt and pepper, to taste.

Blend until it looks delicious. LIKE THIS, lol. Toss the mixture into the fridge to cool for at least 15 minutes. While the mixture is chilling, handle the rest of the components.

Clean and separate the leaves of 1 head of bibb lettuce.

Using a vegetable peeler, slice thin ribbons from 1 large carrot and 1 English cucumber.

In a blender or Magic Bullet, combine the juice of 3 limes, 2 T of fish sauce, 1 T of chopped mint, 1 serrano chile and 1-2 T of honey (1 should be enough). Blend until smooth and reserve.

At this time, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Roll meatballs with your hands, into the size of large marbles — about 3/4-inch. Toss ’em on a baking sheet with foil so they don’t stick.

Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool for a couple of minutes when they come out of the oven.

Right after you put the meatballs in the oven, dress the slaw using half of the lime juice mixture. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, so the acid can soften the vegetables. Plan it so the slaw is ready when the meatballs come out of the oven.

To plate: Lay out one or two leaves of lettuce, depending on how much you have, and how sturdy you like your lettuce wrap. Top with a share of the slaw, and then a spoonful more of the sauce to go with it.

I really enjoyed the vibrant flavors from the mint, basil and lime. The pork is juicy, and the lettuce doesn’t interfere with it’s explosive flavor. I’d do this one again for sure — maybe as pork and lettuce burgers on the grill!

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