Green Herb & Peanut Pork Meatballs in Lettuce Cups
Yield 4 servings
For the meatballs:
- ¼ medium white onion, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ cup unsalted peanuts
- ½ cup lightly packed fresh lemon balm or lemon verbena
- ½ cup lightly packed fresh mint
- ½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
- 1 pound ground pork
For the sauce:
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Asian-style chili paste or pepper sauce
- 2 medium heads butterhead lettuce, separated into leaves
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- ½ cup sliced or shredded radishes
- 1 thinly sliced serrano or jalapeño pepper
- Additional fresh mint and cilantro
- Move an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the onion, garlic, peanuts, lemon balm, mint, cilantro, fish sauce, brown sugar, and chili sauce. Pulse until the mixture resembles a course paste, about the texture of pesto, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Scrape the herb mixture into a medium bowl, then add the pork and mix together until well combined.
- Use a 1-ounce portion scoop or your clean hands to form the pork mixture into meatballs about the size of golf balls. Evenly space the meatballs on the sheet pan and bake until the meatballs are cooked through and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, add the lime juice, water, fish sauce, and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add a bit of chili paste or Asian-style hot chili sauce if you like a bit of spice. Set aside.
- Set out the lettuce, carrot, radishes, serrano, and herbs on a tray or large plate.
- When the meatballs are fully cooked, transfer them to a serving plate. Let everyone assemble their own wraps with several leaves of butterhead lettuce, a scattering of fresh vegetables and herbs, a meatball or two, and a drizzle of sauce.
Lettuce wraps like these can be messy. We serve them outside on a warm spring or summer day when eating with your hands and drippy sauce will just add to the fun. If this is too messy for your house (or your kids!) just turn the components into a lovely, light salad. Tear the lettuce up a bit, top with the herbs and shredded vegetables, finish with the meatballs, and use the sauce as a dressing.
Recipe by Northwest Edible Life at https://nwedible.com/green-herb-peanut-pork-meatballs-in-lettuce-cups/