Buffalo...Turkey?...Lettuce Wraps, for the Passover-observer or Carb-aphobic in all of us

It's official! The Week of Flat Crackers (and delicious apple cake, brisket, and flourless brownies...) has begun, and although the foods in parentheses are more characteristic of First Night Passover, I thought I could at least share with you a Passover-friendly for later on in the week, when the leftovers have dwindled and that matzah has once again lost its annual novelty. After all, if you're observing, you probably have your seder menu plan all set (and perhaps digesting?) already, but this will hopefully help you out of the Matzah Pizza and mountains-of-fresh fruit rut that I know that I tend to fall into.

I made this lettuce cups earlier in the semester as one of my carb-free meals, so even if you're not celebrating Passover, I'd encourage you to try these. I changed up the original recipe quite a bit. First of all, this is meant to be a wrap, not a lettuce cup, and although a wrap would certainly taste nice, I think the crispness and uniqueness of a lettuce wrap trumps a flour tortilla any day. 

Second, it should come as no surprise that in the original recipe, the word "Buffalo" is followed by "Chicken-" tenders, to be precise. With the lettuce, I thought ground meat would be better, and I discovered that week in the grocery store that there's no such thing (at non-specialty, generic chain groceries, anyway) as ground chicken breast; there is simply ground chicken. Now, forget my snobby nutritionist affinity for boring, lean chicken breast for a minute - I have a bone to pick not so much with white vs. dark meat, but with white vs. god-only-knows meat. You see, if it's ground chicken, it could be - bones, skin, dark meat, white meat, organs, anything. You'd never know. Makes you want to run out and buy some, right? Exactly. So I put that ground mystery meat back where it came from and went over to the always trusted ground turkey breast. Hence, Buffalo Turkey Lettuce Wraps.

I also used sour cream instead of mayonnaise, but that's really just because I had extra sour cream and never keep mayo in the apartment, not really because I have anything against a little dabble of mayo here and there. This, however, is a moot point because I decided afterward that it'd be even better without the yogurt mixture at all, instead simply crumbling the blue cheese in its decadent purity over the filled lettuce cups. Then I cut back on the celery (used what I had), added some cherry tomatoes, and messed with the ratios a little bit. All I really have to say about that is - go crazy on the hot sauce. I know I did!

This would make a fantastic appetizer in smaller lettuce cups or, as I ate it, a long sleeve of romaine filled with a whole lot of the mixture for a main dish (after all, Papa Floptimism did just inform me that the messiest food is often the tastiest). Plus, it's one messy-and-tasty combo that you don't have to feel guilty about, and it sure as heck beats Matzah Pizza. Your digestive tract and taste buds will both thank you, I promise.

Buffalo Turkey Lettuce Wraps, adapted from Eating Well
Yield: 3-4 servings as a main course

The Ingredients
2-3 tablespoons hot sauce
2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey breast
(2 tablespoons LF sour cream)*
(2 tablespoons L/NF plain yogurt)*
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
6-8 romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 - 1 cup sliced celery
handful grape tomatoes, quartered

The Method
In a medium bowl, whisk together the hot sauce, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and paprika. Meanwhile, place the oil and turkey in a large skillet, and heat over medium-high. Break up the meat as it cooks, looking for the pink to disappear; browning doesn't tend to happen with ground turkey, so don't look for that. Once cooked, place into the bowl of hot sauce and toss to coat. Stir in the celery and tomatoes.

If making the blue cheese dressing, take a small bowl and whisk together the sour cream, yogurt, and pepper with the remaining 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Stir in the blue cheese. If just using the crumbled blue cheese on its own (recommended), skip right to assembly (and add the pepper to the turkey mixture above instead).

To assemble, wash, dry, and lay out the lettuce leaves. If using the dressing, spread a thin layer of it over the lettuce leaf. Fill each one with roughly 1/3 - 1/4 of the turkey mixture and, if using the pure blue cheese instead of the dressing, crumble the cheese over the filling. To eat, simply roll up the wrap and enjoy - with a napkin nearby, that is!

*Omit these 2 ingredients if using the straight blue cheese crumbles instead of the blue cheese dressing (recommended)

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