Cumin Lamb Lettuce Cups
with Szechuan green beans
When this meal - a Middle Eastern twist on traditional Chinese lettuce cups - was first featured in 2016, it wasn't just the main dish that got rave reviews, but also the side dish. Our community loved the spicy wok-fried green beans that are served with the lettuce cups.
Cumin Lamb Lettuce Cups:
- Onions, medium - 1 , diced
- Bell peppers, green - 1 , diced
- Garlic - 3 cloves , chopped
- Ground lamb - 1 lb
- Cumin - 1 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp
- Tamari - 2 Tbsp
- Hot sauce (opt) - 1 tsp (like chili-garlic sauce)
- Lettuce, bibb, iceberg, or romaine - 12 leaves
- Pine nuts - 1/4 cup
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
Szechuan Green Beans:
- Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
- Green beans - 1 lb , trimmed
- Tamari - 1 Tbsp
- Mirin (opt) - 1 tsp
- Red pepper flakes - 1/2 tsp (sub any hot sauce)
- Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
- Onions / Bell peppers / Garlic (for lettuce cups and green beans) / Green beans - Prep as directed. Combine onions and bell peppers. Store garlic and green beans in their own containers. (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
- Marinate lamb - Mix ground lamb with garlic (just the lettuce cup portion), first part of cumin, Tamari (portion for lettuce cups), and hot sauce (if using). Marinate for at least 20 minutes and up to 1 day. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
- Make Szechuan sauce - Mix together garlic (portion for green beans), Tamari (portion for green beans), mirin, and red pepper flakes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Lettuce - Peel off leaves for lettuce cups (3 / serving). (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat for green beans. Add oil (portion for green beans) and then green beans to heated oil. Saute for 10 to 12 minutes, until browned and blistered. Finish with Szechuan sauce and remove from heat. Season to taste with more salt and / or hot sauce.
- While green beans cook, heat a skillet or saute pan over medium heat for lamb. Add pine nuts and toast until golden for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Return pan to medium-high heat and add oil (portion for lettuce cups) and then onions and bell peppers to heated oil with a sprinkle of salt. Saute for ~4 minutes, until aromatics are tender.
- Next add ground lamb and brown for 5 to 7 minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and toss with second part of cumin. Season to taste with more salt as needed.
- Divide lamb into lettuce cups and garnish with pine nuts. Enjoy with green beans on the side.