Buffalo-inspired lettuce wraps

I say these are Buffalo “inspired” because I suppose to be truly authentic, I’d have to have used blue cheese somewhere in this recipe.  I didn’t.  I don’t really care for blue cheese, and I don’t think it’s a certain home run with the kids, either.  But of course, YOU could use blue cheese if you wanted to!  I’d never know!  These are a FABULOUS dinner or lunch, but they’d be equally wonderful as part of your game-day munchie spread.  In fact, I highly recommend it.

Buffalo-Inspired Lettuce Wraps

1 lb. high-quality ground meat of your choice (I think you need moisture here, so I’d really go with either an 85% beef or a dark-meat turkey)
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Buffalo-style hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot (make sure not to get the “Wing” sauce but rather the regular hot sauce)

2/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup diced green onions (whites and light green parts)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Bibb or Romaine lettuce leaves
Chopped celery
Diced tomatoes
Shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onions, garlic, and meat in the olive oil until the vegetables are softened and the meat is browned.  Add the paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper; stir and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes to cook the raw flavor out of the spices and blend the flavors.
While the meat is cooking, combine the butter and hot sauce in a small saucepan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sauce is smooth.  Set aside.
In a blender or food processor, combine the yogurt, green onions, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.  Blitz quickly to blend.  We left ours a little bit chunky, but you could go until it’s totally smooth if you’d prefer.  Set aside.
To serve, assemble a platter with large leaves of bibb or romaine lettuce, chopped celery and tomatoes, shredded cheese, and both the hot sauce and the green onion dressing.  Each person can then top a large leaf of lettuce with a scoop of the meat mixture, a spoonful of hot sauce (if desired — my kids aren’t ready for that yet), a drizzle of dressing (or a hefty pour, as in the case of my son P.), and whichever additional toppings they prefer.