Pork Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Chile Garlic Sauce, 
By Jen Sommerness

This recipe is a fun and extremely easy way to eat. It is interactive, the colors are gorgeous, and it has the perfect balance of sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors achieved through the fresh condiments, meat and sauce mixtures. I love the freshness of the mint playing off the creaminess of the coconut milk, and always seem to spoon additional spicy chile garlic sauce onto my wraps than those around me, as I love the heat that it brings to the dish. A fresh squeeze of lime tops it off just perfectly, offering the perfect bite.
All parts of this dish can be easily doubled to feed a larger group, or to have leftovers to make into a delicious salad, or for a wonderful Asian pizza the following day. I always make a double batch of the spicy chile garlic sauce, as it is the perfect topping for a flakey grilled white fish, such as halibut. It will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
This dish can easily be made with other meats such as beef or chicken, but I prefer the pork tenderloin, as it is so easy to achieve a tender end result. If using steak, use sirloin or flank, and make sure you simmer until the tenderness is achieved. If using chicken, use boneless, skinless thighs for the tenderest result. Enjoy!

Pork Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Chile Garlic Sauce 
For Pork
2 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into ½ inch cubes
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 fresh habanero chile, seeded and minced
1/2 cup mirin or other sweet, white wine
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk

For Spicy Chile Garlic Sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons mirin or other sweet, white wine
1/4 cup sugar

For Condiments
1 large carrot, shredded
2 limes, cut into wedges
Small bunch of mint (about 20 leaves), finely cut into strips
One bunch of green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced
1/2 cup lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
1 head Bibb or Iceberg lettuce, washed and leaves separated

Make chile garlic sauce: 
Stir together all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool.

Make pork while sauce is cooling: 
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat sesame and grapeseed (or canola) oil in a wok or large skillet over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking, add shallot and habanero and stir for 30 seconds. Add pork, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 3 minutes. Stir in Sriracha sauce and mirin and simmer on low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in coconut milk, push pork to the sides of the wok, leaving only the sauce in the bottom (or remove meat completely if not using a wok). Turn heat up slightly and simmer, until sauce thickens, about 4 minutes. After sauce has thickened, stir pork back into sauce mixture, and remove from heat.
To serve: 
Place pork, spicy chile garlic sauce, and remaining condiments each in a separate bowl or plate. Spoon pork into lettuce leaves and top with condiments and spicy chile garlic sauce, then wrap up to eat.

Makes 4 main course servings

Recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, Spring 2003.

Wine Pairing Notes, By Jim Schwabe

Many people prefer white wines with spicy Asian inspired food, such as a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. We, however paired this recipe with a Zinfandel, one of our bottles of estate Zin, and found it to be the perfect match with the spiciness of this dish. Our Zin was dry, slightly acidic, with lots of spice and berry notes. The spice accentuated the spicy food, and the acidity kept up with the power of the dish. 

Salute!
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