Sunday, May 03, 2009

Chorizo - Pine Nut Lettuce Wraps

Featuring the Fatted Calf's most excellent Mexican Chorizo
picture photograph image lettuce cups 2008 copyright of sam breach

I have probably been shopping regularly from The Fatted Calf longer than most in San Francisco. My custom stretches back to a time when the only way to get hold of their meaty goods was to make a trip to the Berkeley Farmer's Market, which I regularly did, solely on their account.

Today I have to ask myself the question: 'Why on earth, in four and a half years, have I never tried the Fatted Calf's Mexican Chorizo before?' It's excellent; easy to cook with, packed full of spicy flavour and so tasty. We now love it.

We also love these lettuce wraps, which I invented on a whim last week. Why waste your time stuffing your lettuce leaves with minced chicken, when you could have them filled with hot, finger-licking, spiced, pasture-raised pork instead, eh?

Warm a glug of olive oil in a large skillet and gently sautee the entire head and whatever is usable of the stem of a spring garlic. Add 4oz of Chorizo (spicy Mexican style loose sausage) and fry until cooked through and starting to brown. Add two tablespoons of toasted pine nuts and a couple of grated carrots. Use the mixture to stuff the leaves of one or two fresh, crisp. Little Gem Lettuces. Eat with your fingers, mmmm.

Weightwatchers: Mexican-style chrorizo doesn't show up in my WW calculator, so I estimated the points value using raw pork sausage instead. The recipe above serves two at what I calculated to be 8 WW points per person.

Local Resources

The Fatted Calf
spicy Mexican style loose sausage is made from pasture raised pork, organic garlic, red wine vinegar, organic herbs, sea salt and spices.

Spring garlic, carrot and Little Gems from the Mariquita Farm Mystery Box.

Olive Oil by Bariani.

2008 | Sixty Nine Dollars
2007 | In My Fridge
2005 | Tapeo B, San Rafael, now closed.

© 2009 Sam Breach
Chorizo - Pine Nut Lettuce Wraps


  • At 3/5/09 16:34, Anonymous leslie said…

    sounds delish!i happen to have some lettuce gem lettuce growing in my garden, i am hoping it will be ready to pick in the next few days.

  • At 3/5/09 20:58, Blogger Cameron Siguenza said…

    Coincidentally - I made a batch of fresh home made chorizo from an old family recipe earlier today with my kitchenaid grinder from good local oldschool organic pork, raised properly.

    I paired it with small home made taco's (2.5 inches wide) cast iron skillet cooked on my blazing hot gas range. The tortillas are masa harina, salt, water - and are probably under 3/4 point each. I used fairly lean pork with maybe 5% pork fat so calculated it less than your pork sausage equivalent (which must make it 25% fat approx)? I calculated 2 taco's as 5 points, as I used a tiny spoon full of chorizo per taco.

    I also made a roasted tomatillo salsa verde. The only thing that wasn't locally made. I make my own masa harina from some corn my mother grew.

    Anyways, I didn't meant to go into so much detail, other than to say that I will totally try lettuce next time.

    Gem lettuce is a great idea! Nice picture, as always. Looks like a lovely meal.

  • At 4/5/09 02:16, Anonymous Susan said…

    Thank you for your post! The food looks delicious, and you are right, the mexican chorizo is great!

  • At 4/5/09 06:01, Blogger Kalyn said…

    What a great idea for a filling for lettuce wraps. I wish I had some of that Fatted Calf chorizo right now!

  • At 4/5/09 08:51, Blogger Zoomie said…

    Beautiful photo and a really pretty presentation. I was at the Fatted Calf in Napa on Saturday and I wish I had gotten the chorizo.

  • At 6/5/09 10:05, Blogger Rev. Biggles said…

    Awww, I remember seeing you there waiting in line! And, if I remember correctly, you'd already been to a few markets and were on your way to another.

    Been to their place up at the Oxbow yet? They've got treats there you can't get here. Their salumi sammiches are to die for. One day when I went up there, Toponia had just decided to make a gratin. Such a treat.


  • At 8/5/09 09:47, Anonymous EB said…

    I LOVE their chorizo! Especially on a Sunday morning... with an olive oil fried egg..... mmmmmm

  • At 8/5/09 23:24, Blogger aq said…

    Love the Bariani olive oil. Found some at Surfa's here in L.A. and love that they put the harvest date right on the bottle.

    I've been pretty disappointed with california olive oils. This was not only very good, but also reasonably priced as well.

  • At 9/5/09 20:17, Anonymous Carolyn Jung said…

    I like how you chose the virtuous option of wrapping the chorizo in lettuce rather than in tortillas. It not only cuts a few calories, but adds a fresh, vibrant flair to the dish.

  • At 11/5/09 15:00, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

  • At 12/5/09 03:31, Blogger TheGourmetGirl said…

    A fan of chorizo, this delightful recipe will be on my plate in the near future. Creating delectable little edibles without bread is a big plus for those seeking endless possibilities to become a healthy gourmet.

  • At 12/5/09 08:57, Blogger Amy Atwood said…

    Thanks for the Fatted Calf heads up. I will be working in Napa next week and will come prepared to bring some charcuterie home to L.A.!

  • At 12/5/09 13:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've been eating chorizo for years in a whole host of of ways but never thought about it as the base for a lettuce wrap. The pine nuts are a brilliant add and I really like the carrots for bulk. It's like a Mexican twist on the ever-popular Asian lettuce wrap. Also, thanks for taking a swag at the WW points so I don't have to :-)

  • At 12/5/09 21:53, Anonymous Adam said…

    OMG. Those wraps look delicious. Will have to make do with whatever non-Fatty Calf chorizo I can find in my neck of the woods.

  • At 19/5/09 10:07, Blogger Devany said…

    These look terrific. I love Lettuce Wraps. I used to get the Lettuce Burger at In & Out, but these take the wrap to a whole new level.

    I am so glad I "stumbled" upon your site. We cannot get fresh chorizo here (Hawaii), so I have to make it from scratch. I too use the Kitchen Aid Grinder and Sausage attachment. We do have LOTS of Spanish and Portuguese Chorizo (dried kind) here, but for some reason Mexican supplies are in short supply.

    We moved here from the East Bay... so your blog is making me home sick! OOPS time to look out the window at the ocean and remind myself that making one's own Chorizo is not so bad.

    ~devany Hilo, HI

  • At 22/5/09 16:32, Anonymous Wheeler's Crew said…

    The lettuce is such a great idea! Do you know how I could make this recipe vegan?

  • At 25/5/09 10:24, Anonymous Quirky San Francisco said…

    Jeez! Those wraps look so yummy. I love chorizo so this might have to be fixed and served to my partner and I very very soon! Yum.

  • At 2/6/09 15:35, Anonymous Kelly B. said…

    I tried these tonight for dinner and oh my goodness... so fabulous! The pine nuts add a nice chewiness, and the addition of carrots was brilliant! So good.


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