Copycat P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

P.F. Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps

We don’t eat at P.F. Chang’s much any more. Not because it isn’t awesome, but because where it is located. Crazy traffic, crazy people in crazy traffic. We avoid that area. The two things I miss the most are the Kung Pao Scallops and the Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Even the Veggie Lettuce Wraps are awesome. So, when we got A LOT of bib lettuce from our CSA (Greenbrier Farms, they are awesome!), the first thing I though of was P.F. Chang’s amazing Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

I hunted and pecked the Googlebot and found this recipe from Damn Delicious. The first time I made these, I pretty much followed her recipe. If you do, you’ll pretty much get what you came for, she nailed it. Her recipe is dang close P.F. Chang’s.

On my second time, as usual, I tweaked it a bit. I wanted a little more heat and little more savory. A little more garlic and ginger. A little more hoisen. Sesame oil for that… whatever it adds (you know). More sriracha and I added sambal oelek, because sambal oelek. I also used some Dale’s Seasoning Sauce, which I’ve talked about before. It is basically salty soy sauce but adds something, I think. Interestingly enought, I did NOT season it any further. It didn’t need it. The soy and Dale’s had plenty of salt and the ginger, sambal oelek and sriracha offered more than enough heat.

You can’t go wrong with Damn Delicious’s recipe, again, it is spot on to P.F. Chang’s. I just made this per my tastes. You can always add more or less of what you like or don’t like. That is the beauty of cooking (not baking).

 

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup hoisen
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Dale’s Seasoning Sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 (8 oz) can whole water chestnuts, diced
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 head bib lettuce
Directions

  1. Heat a large pan over medium. Add olive oil and sesame oil and coat the pan.
  2. Next add the ground chicken and cook, breaking it up as it browns.
  3. Once the chicken is just cooked through, add garlic, ginger, onions, hoisin, soy, Dale’s, rice wine vinegar, sambal oelek, sriracha, and toss to coat. Cook until onions are just starting to be translucent.
  4. Finally, add the water chestnut and the most of the green onions, toss to combine and cook for another minute.
  5. To serve, spoon the mixture into open bib lettuce leaves, top with more green onion. We also served them with some store bought egg rolls.
  6. Enjoy.
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Copycat P. F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Pork Stir Fry, Braised Bok Choy and Brown Rice

Pork stir fry, braised bok choy with brown rice

We love our CSA, but we can only eat so much bok choy. This year we’ve receive quite a lot. This sent me off to find a recipe to use up a whole head. I came across a recipe for Pork and Bok Choy Stir Fry, and as usual, I tweaked it a bit. I added bell pepper and mushroom. I also used fresh ginger. Finally, I let the bok choy stand on its own by braising separately rather than in the stir fry.

The most interesting notes on this recipe were using cornstarch in the sauce which thickened it up and helped it stick to the pork and vegetables and the braising of bok choy in rice wine vinegar. I really liked this. Each component was tasty but the whole was delicious.

 

Ingredients

  • 3 pork cutlets, sliced through on a bias into pieces
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • Canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package mushrooms, sliced (I used button)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large bok choy
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper flake
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup brown rice (I used instant, shame on me)
Directions

  1. In a medium size bowl, add the wine, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch and whisk until smooth, set aside.
  2. Heat a large pan or wok over medium to medium high heat. Add enough canola oil to just cover. Add pork and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir to combine.
  4. Add carrots, bell pepper and mushroom. Toss to combine and stir fry for approximately 2 more minutes.
  5. Add the soy sauce mixture, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the sauce is thick and coats the pork and vegatables.
  6. Meanwhile, cut the bottom off the bok choy stock. Strip the leafy greens, then thinly slice the white part of the stocks. The smaller interior stocks I left whole.
  7. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot and toss in the smashed garlic. Allow the garlic to infuse the oil.
  8. Next, add the chopped white stems of the bok choy and the crushed red pepper. Cook until slightly softened and add the leafy parts of the bok choy. Toss to combine and add the rice wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook until all is tender.
  9. Prepare the rice per instructions on the box.
  10. Enjoy.
Pork Stir Fry, Braised Bok Choy and Brown Rice

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine and Stella’s Southern Bistro

Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin Porchetta

It was a chilly night, not a usual thing on March 6th in the upstate of South Carolina. Never the less it was cold; to the point they had a pit fire and big outdoor space heater going instead the barn. We love Greenbrier Farms; it is an awesome place ran by awesome folks and producing amazing foods. Any time they have an event we try and attend. This particular event was most interesting. At Greenbrier, with Greenbrier products, prepared by Chef Jason Scholz (Stella’s Southern Bistro) and paired with wines from Hedges Family Estates…uhhh, yeh…we’re going.

I could go course by course and rave about each. I could go on about how each component worked well together and had balance. I could go on and on about how the wines paired perfectly. The venue was fun, the service was excellent, the…on and on. It would be true. Instead of going on and on, here is the menu and a few snap shots I was able to grab.

The stand outs for me; the second (Greenbrier Farms Pork Bolognaise & Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs) and third courses (Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin “Porchetta”) pictured above but everything we ate and drank was phenomenal. If you haven’t, visit Greenbrier and Stella’s and buy some Hedges wine. You won’t regret it.

 

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine Menu

Hors D’ Oeuvres
Greenbrier Farms Pork Pate
Biscuit, chow chow

Hedges HIP Chardonnay – 2012 vintage
Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Dionysus Vineyard of the Columbia Valley, this wine shows flavors of crisp pears and apples with hints of pineapple, lychee, straw, licorice and custard. 100% fermented in stainless steel for a true expression of Chardonnay.

 

First Course
Crispy Confit Greenbrier Farms Chicken
Sea Island red pea & kimchee pancake, bourbon soy glazed stuffed wing, gingered sausage,
Hakurei turnips, anise chicken jus

Hedges CMS White – 2012 Vintage
Made mostly of Sauvignon Blanc (76%} rounded out by Chardonnay (22%) and Marsanne (2%) that shows flavors of pear, grapefruit peel, wet straw and gooseberry. 100% fermented in stainless steel for a clean, bright wine that is versatile and refreshing.

 

Second Course
Greenbrier Farms Pork Bolognaise & Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs
Anson Mills farro, dinosaur kale, Thomasville Tomme, rustic pork liver toast,
Palmetto Olive Oil Tuscan herb oil

Hedges CMS Red – CMS Red – 2011 vintage
Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah in the Columbia Valley AVA this wine is dark, deep ruby color. Aromas of black cherry, blackberry, sweet plum fruit and sweet toasted oak with undertones of ripe melon, dried herbs and vanilla with hints of cocoa powder.

 

Third Course
Greenbrier Farms Pork Belly Wrapped Pork Loin “Porchetta”
fennel pollen, citrus, spinach & garlic sformato, arugula pesto, pan drippings
Hedges Family Estate Red Mountain – 2011 vintage
Made exclusively from fruit grown on the Hedges Estate, comprised of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 16% Syrah, 3% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec. Deep purple color, yet not opaque. The 2011 vintage produced a savory character in the wines, like that of fennel, salt, and tar.

 

Dessert
Sticky Toffee & Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake
Split Creek goat cheese frosting, cajeta panna cotta, rum soaked raisins,
Palmetto Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Condimento

Hedges Fortified Wine
This wine, made in the tradition of Port, speaks of black cherries, deep dark wood and mahogany, and has hints of tobacco, earth and dark chocolate.

 

Crispy-Confit-Greenbrier-Farms-Chicken
Crispy Confit Greenbrier Farms Chicken

Sticky Toffee & Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake
Sticky Toffee and Greenbrier Farms Carrot Cake

Pork Bolognaise and Tomato Braised Pork MeatballsPork Bolognaise and Tomato Braised Pork Meatballs

Greenbrier Farm to Table Dinner with Hedges Wine and Stella’s Southern Bistro

Local Pork Chops Stuffed with Drunken Cranberries, Walnuts and Gorgonzola

stuffed pork chops with cranberry, walnut and gorgonzola

I found these massive local pork chops and had no choice. I wasn’t even feeling pork chops, I was thinking baked chicken wings. Thankfully my better half delicately suggested she wanted the pork. These turned out amazing. The stuffing was perfect. Tart, sweet, crunchy, savory, earthy yumminess is how I would describe. The salad supported to pork, and I avoided over doing it by leaving the gorgonzola and walnuts out of it. I would suggest serving this with a starch, we happen to have Jen’s grandmother’s twice baked potatoes but you could serve with rice, couscous, mashed potatoes or whatever. I also did create a pan jus with pan drippings, beef stock and some of the macerating liquid but the pork was so good I didn’t even use it.

I would recommend this recipe highly. I searched the web for a good stuffed pork chop recipe and didn’t find anything that looked unique and interested. This recipe is both.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 thick cut pork chops
  • Dried cranberries
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Fresh oregano chopped
  • Italian bread crumbs
  • Walnuts chopped
  • Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Arugula
  • Red onion thinly sliced
  • Cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
  • Lemon juice
Directions

  1. Place the cranberries in a bowl and pour 50/50 balsamic and red wine vinegar to cover. Let set for as long as you have. I let them set 3 hours, tossing occasionally.
  2. Using a paring knife (this would be very difficult without a nice paring knife) cut a slit in the side of the chop without the bone, approximately 1-2 inches. Wiggle the knife and cut a pocket as far as you can without cutting through. Set the pork chops aside for 10-15 minutes to remove the chill.
  3. Preheat oven at 400 degrees F. Heat a skillet over medium high heat.
  4. In a small bowl add macerated cranberries, oregano, bread crumbs, mustard, walnuts, gorgonzola, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine. Add some of the balsamic/red wine mixture.
  5. Stuff the pork with the stuffing, packing it tightly into the cavity. If need be, us tooth picks to secure the opening. Season the outside with salt and pepper, drizzle a little olive oil on each side.
  6. Sear each side including the stuffed side. Cook until golden brown then place in the oven. Cook until internal temperature next to the bone is approximately 140 degrees F (I go a little less than that). Once desired temperature is achieved, remove the chops from the pain, tent with a piece of tin foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, in a large bowl add a tablespoon of mustard, lemon juice, more of the reserved macerating liquid, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle olive oil and continue whisking to form vinaigrette. Add onions, tomatoes and toss. Add arugula on the top and toss right before serving.
Local Pork Chops Stuffed with Drunken Cranberries, Walnuts and Gorgonzola

Duo of Greenbrier Farms Lamb at American Grocery

American Grocery - Greenbrier Farms duo of lamb

I always enjoy a visit to my favorite restaurant in Greenville, American Grocery. This particular trip was a date night and just happen to be our two week wedding anniversary. Jen and I both agreed we need a break, and Jen suggested AGR. It might have had something to do with them having Paella on the menu. If you’ve been to AGR, you know. Their menu changes every single day. If they have Paella on Thursday, that doesn’t mean it’ll be there on Friday. Knowing this, I still called and got reservations. I spoke with Darlene, owner and in-house sommelier, when I called. After the reservation was made, I asked if she thought the Paella would be on the menu tomorrow (Friday). She offered to ask Chef Clarke, owner, chef and husband to Darlene. I told her not to worry about that, we are coming anyway.

Making a long story, longer…on Friday afternoon I peeked at the menu (Darlene uploads the menu for that night in the late afternoon), the Paella was gone. When we arrived, however, we were greeted by Darlene, who whispered that they had saved one Paella for Jen. Awesome! Love AGR!

I started my meal with the Crispy Veal Sweetbread, crispy farm egg, sea island pea hash, green garlic cream, pickled ramps (pictured below). It was great. I love when chefs us offal, I think it truly respects the animal when you use every thing you can. This veal was super crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. The egg was perfectly cooked as well with the yolk broken, I mixed it together with the other ingredients. The pea hash and pickled ramps where delicious. Like most dishes at AGR, all the components of the dish are good, but together they are perfect.

My entree was the Duo of Local Lamb, sunchoke – potato cream, wild mushrooms, swiss chard, lamb jus (pictured above). The first of the lamb duo seemed to have been maybe braised, then shredded, then formed back, then seared. It tasted a lot like a REALLY good pulled pork medallion. On top of that was house made mustard which matched perfectly. The second lamb was loin that was tender and juice and cooked perfectly. Chef might have cooked this in a very similar way to how he prepares his duck breast. The outside was crunchy and almost sweet and as you can see (click on the above image to see a larger version) the inside was pink. The wild mushrooms added the earthiness and the swiss chard added that bitter punch. The lamb jus was deep, rich and very flavorful. The sunchoke – potato cream was also rich and very creamy and was the glue holding this fabulous meal together. Again, perfect.

As a side note, Jennifer did get the Paella (pictured below). Her meal consisted of AGR Paella – cobia, mussels, shrimp, calamari, chorizo, saffron rice, spring vegetables. I tasted it and it was delicious. The rice and chorizo alone would have been worth getting this dish. You then add a bunch of fresh seafood and it was over the top.

Crispy Veal Sweetbread, crispy farm egg, sea island pea hash, green garlic cream, pickled ramps
AGR Crispy Veal Sweetbread
AGR Paella – cobia, mussels, shrimp, calamari, chorizo, saffron rice, spring vegetables
AGR Paella
Duo of Greenbrier Farms Lamb at American Grocery

Farm to Table Dinner featuring Stone Brewing at Greenbrier Farms

Very rarely do events like this come to such a happy confluence. I really like Stone Brewery. I love Greenbrier Farms and I love American Grocery. When I was invited to the Farm to Table Dinner that featured all three I was ecstatic. One of my favorite Chefs preparing food from my favorite farm, pared with beer from one of my favorite breweries. Awesome…and it was.

Five courses of exquisite, is how I would define this meal. I have to say that it was A LOT of food and A LOT of heavy food but WOW. My favorite course was the fourth (image above). Basically it was pulled pork, but made into “paddy” then seared so it had a nice crust. The mustard was house made and brilliant. Collard greens and grits are about as southern as you can get and went perfectly with the pork. YUM!

I also I loved the charcuterie and the salad course as well. Actually the whole meal was brilliant and the beers were delicious and bountiful. Below I tried to remember all the courses and beer parings. I might have forgotten something, but that should be pretty close.

Courses

  1. Charcuterie with grilled bread. Like pate (terrine or head cheese) with all kinds of goodies (lamb and pork head).
  2. Salad with greens, pickled green tomatoes, roasted red and white beets, turnips vinaigrette.
  3. Cassoulet deconstructed. White and red bean, kale, chicken confit, pork belly, aioli, green tomato chow chow.
  4. Pork roulette (pulled pork, crispy sear), housemade mustard seed mustard, collards, Anson Mills grit cake, pork and lamb demiglaze.
  5. Ginger and molasses cake, butterscotch Chantilly, whipped cream quenelle.

Beer Parings

  1. Stone IPA
  2. Stone Pale Ale
  3. Stone Levitation Ale
  4. Stone Smoked Porter
  5. Stone Imperial Russian Stout

If you are not familiar with Greenbrier Farms, they are a small farm located outside of Greenville, SC and are definitely on my Favorites Products List.

American Grocery is my favorite restaurant in this area. If you’ve been following this blog you undoubtedly know this. I have written about them on several occasions.

Farm to Table Dinner featuring Stone Brewing at Greenbrier Farms