This is an outstanding Food & Wine recipe that I highly recommend. These wraps make a great appetizer or light meal.
I’ve made a few sausage recipes over the years, such as this, this and this, all of which turned out quite good. Lemongrass sausage is no exception. Mixing fresh ingredients with the meat cannot be topped for flavor. And with no nitrates or any other added chemicals, you can be sure that whatever homemade sausage you make won’t be bad for you like the premade industrialized stuff.
The Food and Wine folks want you to grind your own sausage for these, but if you don’t feel like doing that (I didn’t), just use course, fatty ground pork. I’ve replaced that pound of pork shoulder and 0.25 pounds of pork fatback in the original recipe with ground pork. Of course, if you have the equipment to grind your own (and can actually find fatback), I’m sure the results will be outstanding.
Note that below this recipe for the lettuce wraps, there’s a recipe for one of the ingredients (a condiment really), nuoc cham. Don’t skip this; it’s a critical finishing touch.
What you’ll need:
- 0.33 cups coarsely chopped scallions
- 0.25 cups coarsely chopped fresh lemongrass, outer layer and ends removed
- 1T kosher salt
- 1t granulated sugar
- 1t lime zest
- 2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
- 1-1.25 lbs. non-lean ground pork
- 1T neutral oil
- 12 butter lettuce leaves
- 1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
- Thai chilies, seeded and thinly sliced
- Fresh mint and cilantro leaves (I skipped these)
- *Nuoc Cham
What to do:
Mix the scallions, lemongrass, salt, sugar, lime zest, and garlic in a large bowl.
Add the scallion mixture to the ground pork and mix well with your hands. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour—a few hours is even better.
Shape the ground pork mixture into about 12 2-inch patties (I made them bigger). Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the patties until well browned and no longer pink in the center. Remove from skillet and let rest 5 minutes.
To serve, stack a couple of lettuce leaves to make a cup. Add the sausage(s), carrots, mint, cilantro, and nuoc cham.
This stuff is delicious! If you’re making the lettuce wraps, go the extra mile for the nuoc cham.
What you’ll need:
- 0.5 cup warm water
- 3T fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)—bottled juice works fine, too
- 2T granulated sugar or 3 to 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2t rice vinegar (optional)
- 3T fish sauce
- 1 Thai or serrano chili, deseeded and thinly sliced
- Asian chile-garlic sauce or sambal oelek
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
What to do:
In a small bowl, stir 0.5 cups water, lime juice and sugar in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves—dilute with water if flavors are too strong. If it’s a bit bitter, add rice vinegar to remove bitterness.
Stir in the fish sauce—add more, if needed, to taste. The flavor should be bold and somewhat salty from the fish sauce. This sauce is usually used to dress unsalted food like lettuce or herbs, so it has to be flavorful.
If you’re using carrot matchsticks, sliced chilies, or garlic, add them now. Cover, refrigerate and let the flavors meld for a while.