Thai Lettuce Wraps

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These delicious lettuce wraps are inspired by the cuisine of northern Thailand, and are based on the Lao sausage made by the Kootenay Co-op Butcher Shop. The sausages are made with southeast Asian favorites like galangal (spicy ginger), cilantro, and mint. For less adventurous appetites, simply swap out the Lao Sausage for another sausage style of your choice.
Authentic dishes add rice that has been roasted and ground (see note below), but you can skip this step for a slightly less crunchy version. For a vegetarian option, try Field Roast vegetarian smokies and add 3 cloves minced garlic, 2 tsp grated galangal or ginger, and 2 T chopped cilantro to the hot oil before frying the sausage.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound Lao Sausage meat
  • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup torn mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup torn cilantro leaves
For the Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 small red chilies, minced (optional)
  • 1 T agave syrup or sugar to taste
Whole lettuce leaves – Bibb, or Boston, or Butterleaf are good choices, but Romaine will also work.
Instructions
Prepare the sauce – mid the fish sauce and lime juice together. Add sweetener and whisk until well combined. Add chilies if desired.
Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until oil shimmers. Add the sausage meat to the skillet and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon (if your sausages are in casings, squeeze the filling out into the pan and discard the casings). Stirring occasionally, fry on medium heat until the meat is cooked. Drain of fat and mix in herbs and sauce.
To assemble the wraps, simply scoop about 1/4 cup of cooked sausage into a lettuce leaf. You can also add more fresh cilantro, sprouts, shredded carrots, or whatever else you can imagine.
Toasted rice adds body and texture and takes only a few minutes. Place 1 T of long-grain white rice in warm pan and cook over medium heat until rice is toasty-smelling and browned. Remove from heat and place in a spice grinder. Grind in short bursts until the rice is no larger than a large grain of sand. Spinkle the toasted rice over the filling.