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Just a few minor changes: I used half the tomato paste (only had one 8 oz can), crushed tomatoes instead of stewed (it’s what I had), added diced carrots, and I dropped the lentils in a bit earlier, because I didn’t mix in the rice.
I served it on top of rice instead. I cooked it until the lentils just got tender, then adjusted the seasoning a bit. I added some smoked paprika along with regular paprika, and ground some peppercorn medley (which has a bit more piperine than just black peppercorns). As mentioned at the end I did add the hot sauce and worcestershire sauce directly to the pot.
Oh, I also added a splash of my wife’s red wine earlier on for fun. My head of cabbage didn’t pile up nearly as much as yours, I wonder if I cut mine smaller or if it just was smaller.
Anyway, that vinegar-y acidity from the tomatoes and the hot sauce with the cabbage…man, such a great combo. And toasting the tomato paste is an absolute game changer…it deepens the rich, sweet and savory flavor like sun-dried tomatoes. I’m definitely going to use that trick in other dishes!
Anyway, the six of us only managed to eat about a third of it, and we only ate that much because I got a late start on cooking and we were extra hungry. My wife claimed she didn’t like cabbage rolls based on some bad experience like 25 years ago and said she was scared, but she ended up going back for seconds (though she was too full to finish her second helping).