Sunday, March 4, 2012

Balsamic Chicken Lettuce Cups

seriously, how awesome does that look?
I wanted to try something a little different for snack last week and felt like going in a slightly Asian direction. These lettuce cups are very pretty looking and also taste delicious. They are a bit more time intensive than the majority of snacks, but most of the time is spent in the slow cooker, so it's not too bad.

This recipe actually involved two of my favorite kitchen gadgets: the slow cooker and the rice cooker. Slow cookers are versatile in a pretty obvious way--it makes weeknight dinners a cinch. Rice cookers are also versatile. Obviously, you can make rice in it, but you are not limited to plain rice! For this recipe I made an orange ginger rice.  I've also cooked pasta in it. I believe Roger Ebert has a whole book of recipes for rice cookers.

Buy a decent rice cooker, it doesn't have to be large or super expensive, but don't by a shitty one. I recommend going to an Asian food store. They often carry good quality, reasonably priced rice cookers. I guarantee once you have a rice cooker you will eat more rice.

This recipe makes a ton! It could easily serve 4 for dinner.

Balsamic Chicken Lettuce Cups


8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 inch ginger grated
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 heads boston lettuce

(for the rice)
1 cup white rice
1 orange zested and juiced
1/2 inch ginger, grated


In your slow cooker, mix together sugar, vinegar, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce. Add chicken thighs and mix to coat chicken. Cook on high heat for 3-4 hours or low heat for 7 hours. Using two forks, shred the chicken in the sauce. Leave on warm while you prepare rice.

Mix rice with orange juice, zest, and ginger. Add in water to fill line on rice cooker (or amount called for on rice package). Cook rice as directed by cooker or package. When done, add a pinch of kosher salt.

Top each boston lettuce leaf with a bit of rice and then a bit of meat (amount varies with the size of each leaf). These are good warm and at room temperature. 

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