Weekly Winner:  Wrapping up August with Perfect Petite Pork Packages

I believe I’ve mentioned maybe once or twice, that it’s been hot here.  I mean really hot.  However, even with it being so hot, that does not mean I want to live on salads.  What I want is an easy, light dinner that has a certain amount of substance to it.  But I refuse to turn on the oven, stove, or even a slow-cooker to heat up the kitchen. What to do? What to do?

The answer lies in these adorable, crisp little lettuce wraps filled with mini pork patties all dressed up in a zippy dipping sauce.  Meat and veggie in one delicious bite.  Lemongrass Pork Patties with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce comes from Epicurious and is a total cinch to make — especially if you let someone else (aka Grill-master Hubby) grill up the patties that you whip up in your incredibly cool kitchen.

Lemongrass Pork Patties with Vietnamese Dipping Sauce

Pork Patties:

1 pound ground pork

3 large cloves of garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens (from 3 to 4 scallions)

1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, lower 6 inches of tender bulb, finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce (such as nuoc mam or nam pla)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Sauce and assembly:

1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar, plus more to taste

1 tablespoons sugar, plus more to taste

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce

Pinch of crushed red pepper

12 lettuce leaves, such as Boston lettuce or iceberg

Herb sprigs, such as mint, cilantro and Thai basil


For the patties:

In a large bowl, use your hands to mix together all of the ingredients, then form the mixture into twelve 2-inch patties (about 3/4 inch thick). Arrange the patties on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm.

Preheat the grill for at least 10 minutes and set it up to grill over moderately high heat. Oil the grates. Grill the patties until brown grill marks form on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the patties, then grill for 3 to 4 minutes longer, until cooked through but still juicy.

For the sauce and assembly:

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the vinegar with the sugar and water. Add the fish sauce, then taste and season with more vinegar or sugar, depending on your taste.

Arrange the lettuce leaves and herb sprigs on a platter. To serve, wrap the pork patties and herb sprigs in lettuce and dip in the sauce.

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