Ground turkey is one of those ingredients that sounds soooo healthy yet tastes pretty much like nothing. Not even sawdust. In meat, fat equals flavor and turkey is so lean, it doesn’t even stay together by itself in a burger without other binding ingredients. Things like eggs keep it from falling apart like a sand sandwich. So I tend to use ground turkey in recipes that add strong flavors to enliven a dull profile. This poultry absorbs liquids and flavor like a sponge, much like tofu. So… it’s perfect in lettuce wraps where it can soak up all those fresh, pungent ingredients. This recipe does have some luxurious additions to a traditional Asian lettuce wrap recipe, like bacon, but that’s how I roll… bring on the flavor. (Also see Cuban Picadillo recipe)
Inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light but generously altered. Makes enough to serve two very hungry people or four as a snack. Meat mixture stores well too, for a day or two in the fridge if you have leftover (which you likely won’t).
Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps
2 slices bacon
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon jalapeno or Fresno pepper, seeded, minced (about 1 large), divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
12-14 lettuce leaves (Bibb aka Butter, Romaine, or Iceberg) or Napa cabbage leaves work too
1. In a large skillet, cook bacon until fat renders. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towel. Crumble when cooled.
2. Add ginger, carrot and ground turkey to the hot bacon grease and cook about 7-8 minutes or until the turkey is cooked through and carrots are soft. Stir frequently.
3. Drain turkey mixture and place in large bowl. Add onions, herbs, fish sauce, lime juice, oils and 1/2 Tablespoon pepper, and salt. Combine well.
4. Add about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of turkey mixture to each lettuce leaf , top with crumbled bacon and more peppers if desired. Wrap as best you can and eat like a taco.