Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chicken and Red Pepper Lettuce Wraps

This is my favorite at-home chicken wrap recipe.

It's low-carb and takes about 45-50 minutes to prepare, depending on how many little people are in the kitchen with you.

The recipe serves about 8. You can halve the amounts if you don't need that much. But the chicken mixture reheats so well, you might as well make enough for another meal while you're at it.

If you haven't made this type of food at home before, you might have to swing by the Asian section of the grocery store. Pick up a bottle of soy sauce (this recipe will use about half a bottle) and some Hoisin sauce (a sweet-ish, dark sauce). Head over to the vinegar/salad dressing area and put some rice vinegar in your cart.

It will take a bit of planning and possibly a trip to the store, but I beg you...CONSIDER MAKING THIS STUFF. It will make you want to dance on the table.

Well, maybe.

The involved parties.
The onion was still with its peeps in the refrigerator when I took the picture.
So was the other bell pepper and head of lettuce.
I'll get it together one day.
Well, maybe.

Bad picture of rice vinegar

Equally bad picture of hoisin sauce.

Chicken and Red Pepper Lettuce Wraps*
3 pounds chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and ground pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 large red bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon orange peel
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional; add more if you like it hot)
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts (optional)
3 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 heads Iceberg lettuce

1) Cut base off of lettuce heads.  Gently peel off leaves, wash, and pat dry with paper towels.  Refrigerate until ready to serve the dish.

2)  Season chicken well with salt and pepper.

3)  In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add half the chicken (don't crowd the pan); cook, stirring constantly, until opaque throughout, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add more oil to the pan.  Repeat with remaining chicken.

4)  Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to pan, along with the onion and bell pepper. Reduce heat to medium-high.  Cook, stirring constantly, until onion is tender and golden, about 6 minutes.

5)  Reduce heat to medium; add garlic, ginger, orange peel, and red-pepper flakes and water chestnuts, if using; cook, stirring, until fragrant (Inhale deeply! Enjoy the moment!), 30 to 60 seconds.

6) While garlic/ginger mixture is cooking, whisk the cornstarch and water together in a bowl.  Add in the soy sauce, vinegar, and hoisin sauce.  Whisk together again. 

7)  Pour cornstarch mixture over garlic/ginger mixture.  Reduce heat to low.  Add chicken back to pan and toss to coat.

Serve the chicken mixture wrapped in the lettuce leaves.  As you take a bite, the combination of the cool, crisp leaves and the warm, fragrant chicken will make you nearly wet your pants.   

If you run out of lettuce leaves, just go all cross-cultural and use tortillas. 

You can serve with "rice sticks":  the Asian answer to flour-based pasta.  Note: if you get the rice sticks (sold in the Asian section of the grocery store) and actually eat them, you will be leaving the "low-carb" realm of the recipe.  I boiled them and mixed in a couple dollops of hoisin, but you can also fry them, if you're brave that way.  I am not.

*Adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe:  Everyday Food, 2005


KellerMom said...

Ginny, dear..
You need zero tips on photography my friend! Even if your only photographing food it looks amazing :)

liz@alittlepeaceofhome said...

what a fabulous recipe! looks delicious! found you over at debbie's!

Julie B said...

This was so delicious! i love the sauce. We will be having this again for sure!