Pork lettuce wraps with Saucí Gin+Scal

Mick Follari

Yield: 4 servings (+ leftovers)

Time: 15min to 8 hours, depending on which you make

Fresh, healthy dinner or appetizer. The crunch of romaine lettuce makes a nice alternative to soft tortillas, and keeps this dish gluten and corn-free. These work great with either pork, chicken, beef, or seasoned veggies. You can choose your own adventure: if time is short, use ground meat or take-out, if not do a nice slow-roasted or smoked pork shoulder or whole chicken.

Lettuce wraps are a casual, fresh, healthy dinner or lunch. Of course the same idea works perfectly with tortillas, but these are lighter and more Asian-inspired than Latin-American. They also work great with chicken or beef instead of the pork. For a vegan version, use a medley of grilled or sautéed veggies and mushrooms. As a side note, this same recipe would be delicious with the Saucí Verde also.

You can do this quickly or you can do some homemade slow-roasted, slow-cooker, or slow-smoker meat. If you are weeknight time-pressed you can quickly cook up some ground pork or chicken in a skillet with a few seasonings, or grab some pork from a BBQ take-out, or a rotisserie chicken from your favorite place. Or for a quick, delicious vegan/vegetarian version, stir-fry some veggies such as squashes, peppers and mushrooms.

We’ve done them all. The most important part is the Saucí Gin+Scal.

Ingredients:

Quick-pickled veggies:

  • 1 English cucumber, julienne-cut
  • 2 small or 1 large carrot, julienne-cut
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp very thinly sliced ginger root
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

A quick ground pork version:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tsp mince garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar

A slow-roasted pork version:

  • 1 pork shoulder blade (~4.5lb)
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin

Preparation:

Slow-roasted pork version (skip if time-pressed). Follow your own favorite slow-roasted pork recipe or try the one below. A crock-pot/slow-cooker version would work great as well, just look up the procedure to get the liquids right.

  1. Mix the dry rub ingredients in a bowl
  2. Pat the pork shoulder dry with a paper towel on all sides
  3. Sprinkle, pat and rub the dry rub all over the pork, and into any crevasses.
  4. Heat the oven to 225deg
  5. Double-wrap the pork in aluminum foil and set on the middle rack.
  6. Cook for 7-8 hours or until an inserted fork twists without much pressure. You’re going for a temperature upwards of 180deg to ensure the connective tissue breaks down, but the texture is the important thing.
  7. Let rest for about 15-30min, raise the oven to 500deg, then unwrap the top of the foil and roast in high heat to caramelize the exterior.
  8. Remove from the oven, then move the pork to a cutting board, but save the collected juices and fat in the aluminum foil. Use two forks to pull apart the meat until nicely shredded, then add to a bowl and mix in the juices.

Quick-pickled Asian veggies (about 30m-1hr before the pork is done):

  1. Whisk the sugar, salt, and vinegar together in a large bowl until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Alternatively you can heat them in a sauce pan until dissolved then add to a bowl.
  2. Add the cucumber, carrot, onion, ginger, and mix together. You can add some water and/or some more vinegar if needed to cover the veggies.
  3. Put in a covered bowl in the fridge for 30m or up to a few days.

Quick ground pork version:

  1. Add the pork, garlic and scallions to a medium hot pan toss until the meat is browned
  2. Stir in soy or coconut aminos, then the vinegar, and finally the sesame oil
  3. Remove from heat

Put it together:

  1. Cut the bottom off the head of Romaine, then peel off the leaves and wash them. I like to trim the very tips off too, and sometimes cut them in half to make smaller lettuce wraps, or leave them long.
  2. Set up a DIY buffet for wrap-building, or assemble and serve by laying out some lettuce, spoon on some pork (or chicken or veggies), drop on a few pickled veggies.
  3. Top with a teaspoon or two of Saucí Gin+Scal and enjoy!