Pork in Little Gem Lettuce

Sitting next to the fireplace in a country cottage in Franschhoek, South Africa and leafing through an old local edition of "Woman and Home” left behind by some previous passer-by, I came across a fabulous recipe for pork in little gem lettuce. I loved it so much I just had to share. This is more or less it, in a slightly altered version.

Pork in Little Gem Lettuce

Ingredients (serves 2-3):
1 little gem lettuce
150g minced meat (50% pork 50% beef)
1/2 red pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp fresh mint leaves
2 tsp fresh koriander (cilantro) leaves
dash of vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sesame seeds (white, black, or mixed) + an extra dash

1. Pour a dash of vegetable oil into a skillet and fry the minced meat until it is no longer pink. Remove from pan and set aside, leaving as much of the oil as possible in the pan.

2. In the remaining oil, lightly sautée the red pepper (2-3 minutes) on medium heat, stirring frequently. Don't allow the pepper to burn. Add the minced meat back to the pan, and pour in the fish sauce, lemon juice, and soy sauce. Stir over medium heat for another 2-3 minutes.

3. Remove from the skillet and let cool.

4. In a dash of sesame oil, lightly roast the  sesame seeds (just a few minutes, stirring all the while - be careful not to let them burn).

5. Finely chop the mint and koriander leaves (don't use the stems). Stir the mint, koriander, 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and sesame seeds through the meat.

6. Separate the leaves of the little gem lettuce, and lay out on a plate. Fill the gem lettuce leaves with the pork mixture and serve.

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