Y’all, can I half-way complain about something? Just for a few minutes. I promise I’ll make this quick.
I’m in my third year of living on the West coast now. I’m well aware by now that the weather here is much warmer, for much longer than it was in the Mitten at this time of year. I know that we don’t get to really see the seasons ‘change’. I know that corn mazes, apple orchards, and sweater weather aren’t really a ‘thing’ outchea.
I miss all of the above, but I’m still fine with going without all of that. There’s just one thing that is really starting to bug me.
I am so sick of the heat.
Seriously. I’m not just over it, I’m overBOARD it. I kinda expect those summer temperatures to carry into September, but by the time October rolls around, I’m kinda ready for them to move along on their way. And they haven’t. They haven’t gone ANYWHERE. Like I said, I’m not exactly expecting sweater weather but I’d at least be able to walk home without getting sweaty.
AND ANOTHER THING. This weather is really putting a damper on my autumn appetite.
Y’all get autumn appetites too, right?
Much like in the summer, I have a massive appetite for things like charcoal BBQ, lots of fruit and whipped cream and lemonade. But as we roll into October, my summer appetite starts to fade and my autumn appetite starts to rev its engine.
And suddenly, all I want is comfort, stick-to-your-ribs food: stew, chili, pot roast, cornbread, apple cider, cinnamon sugary stuff. All of the things that warm you up from the inside out and make you want to take a nap.
But guess what? I’m not really in the mood for food that warms me up on the inside when I’m already too hot from the weather outside. That’s my half-complaint. It’s autumn and I’m not in the mood for autumn food because it still feels like the dead of summer where I’m at. ‘Kay, that’s it. Now onto the food.
Since it’s still too hot outside for autumn food where I’m at, I figured that I could just make something that catered more to the summer weather. Lettuce wraps are right up there so far as I’m concerned. They’re light, they’re refreshing, they’re lower in carbs than tacos. (I don’t really care about that last part, but whatever, they’re still yummy and summery).
Hoisin sauce is like an Asian style ketchup–except in my opinion, it’s much tastier. Hoisin, soy sauce, minced ginger and chili sauce forms the base of the sauce that the pork in this dish is braised in. All together it makes for a sauce that’s salty-sweet, and given a punch of spiciness from the ginger and garlic. Make sure you get lettuce that’s going to hold it’s shape when you place the meat and toppings inside–Boston Bibb or butter works best. I drizzled Sriracha on top of mine to make it extra spicy. It may not be summer anymore, but if you’ve got summer weather where you’re at, maybe you’d like to try this yourself.
Hoisin Pork Lettuce Wraps
- 4-5 lbs of boneless pork shoulder, cut into chunks
- Pepper, Onion powder and garlic powder
- 1 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup minced fresh ginger
- 3/4 cup sweet chili sauce
- 1/4 cup minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 large yellow sweet onion, cut into chunks.
- Matchstick carrots
- Sesame seeds
- Butter or romaine lettuce leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Season the meat all over liberally with the pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot over high heat. Sear the meat until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
Add the onion to the pot and stir to coat the onion in the browned bits. Allow to saute until the onions are softened and translucent. Add the garlic and allow to saute for an additional 2-3 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the soy sauce, hoisin, brown sugar, fresh ginger, chili sauce, five spice and chicken broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, the reduce heat to a low simmer. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Add the pork back to the pot and stir to combine.
Cover tightly with lid or alumnum foil. Bake in the oven until the pork is softened and easily pulled with a fork, 1 1/2-2 hours. Serve the pork with the lettuce leaves, shredded carrots and sesame seeds.