Boston has a wealth of fantastic restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for steak or tiki masala, pasta or Chinese, the Bean has a table with your name on it. That also means the bill will have your name on it and that can be a little less enjoyable . Well kids, enter the Potluck…your answer to food & friends (and let’s be honest, wine) on a budget.
On Wednesday I had a group of fab college friends over for a great potluck. Dishes included Buffalo Chicken Rangoons, Bruschetta, Guacamole, Sautéed Veggies with Cashews, Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows) and the most amazing Chocolate Mousse Cake from Mike’s Pastry in the North End. It was so nice to hang with friends, try new foods, drink wine and enjoy a night “out,” all without that pesky bill. Potlucks are perfect when paired with holidays and themes (Cinco de Mayo!) or just when you’re looking to get together with friends and family for a nice meal. Not only does it take the burden off the host(ess) to supply every course, it allows everyone to take part in the fun and planning of the party.
A few pics from the night
The recipe for the Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce definitely has a longer list of ingredients; however you can prep almost the whole thing in advance, then lightly sauté the veggies & chicken together 5-10 min before serving. These types of dishes are perfect when you’re the one hosting the potluck/party :).
Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- 2 ½ cups shredded carrots
- 1 cup Alfalfa or bean sprouts (Depends what I have on hand. In this case I used both; 1 cup bean & ½ cup packed alfalfa)
- 1 cup red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- ½ cup scallions, diced at an angle
- 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
- 1 head iceberg lettuce
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 3 med-large chicken breasts
- 1 cup soy sauce
- 32 oz. chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1. Peel apart and rinse iceberg lettuce; lay on a clean kitchen towel to dry.
2. In a med-large pot, add1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon garlic, soy sauce, chicken broth, water and maple syrup. Poach chicken breast until center is white & juice run clear.
3. When chicken is done, shred with a fork
4. In a large skillet over low-med heat, add shredded carrots, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, scallions, peanuts, 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 teaspoon ginger and shredded chicken. Sauté for no more than 5 min, adding 2-3 ladles of poaching broth. If using alfalfa sprouts, add right at the end.
5. Serve warm with iceberg lettuce.
* You can go ahead and save/freeze the poaching broth for the base of an Asian-style soup in the future!
Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 3 ½ tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger, grated
- 1 teaspoon hot sesame/Chinese oil (less if you don’t like spice)
1. Add all ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth
* Taste sauce to see if you’d like it creamier or less spicy (add more peanut butter) or more spicy (add more hot oil)