I hate to be that person. The one who squeezes produce before they by it. I minded my manners on my last visit to the Farmer's Market, and simply selected my basket of apples by sight alone. Big mistake. I grabbed one for a snack on the drive home only to find that it was soft, along with the rest in the basket.
You should know something about me and soft apples. I can't stand them. If the first bite isn't so crisp that it pops, I can't even finish it. I know, I know. It's a bit dramatic, but it's the truth.
So this whole recipe started with soft apples. Since the basket I bought wouldn't be good for eating fresh (by my standards) I had to find some more creative ways to use them.
The apples led me to a sweet and savory ground pork dish, which then led me to having it over rice, which then led me to wrapping it up in a lettuce leaf. I'm not quite sure why I don't make lettuce wraps more often. I need to move them up the list of my go-to dishes.
I used sticky rice for this version, but any type of rice will work. Or you can use rice noodles, or leave it out all together.
Lettuce Wraps with Pork, Apple and Tamarind Recipe
~ 1 lb ground pastured pork
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 apple, cored and diced
1 tsp tamarind concentrate
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
4 green onions, sliced (for garnish)
1 to 1 1/2 cups cooked sticky rice
1 head romaine lettuce
In a heavy skillet, brown the pork over medium-high heat. Break it up into small pieces as it cooks. After 2-3 minutes, add the onion, garlic and apple. Continue to cook until the pork is fully browned and no longer pink. Drain any excess grease, if necessary.
Add the tamarind, tamari, ginger and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle on some of the green onions.
Prepare about 3 lettuce leaves for each person. Top each leave with a portion of rice, and then the pork. Garish with any remaining onions. Serves about 4.