I know! This recipe ~ both its ingredients list and method ~ looks impossibly long and complicated. But it's not, I promise. Though I have eaten them my whole life for my family's Eastern European feast days, I had never made cabbage rolls on my own and was intimidated to do so. The process was, in fact, quite easy (though time-consuming), but my goal here is to provide detailed instructions in the method that help you visualize what you're going to be doing before you even get into the kitchen.
I'll admit to taking liberties with my Romanian grandmother's original recipe, and even used some of the spices and herbs suggested in a recipe by Romanian cookbook author Nicolae Klepper. I opt for savoy cabbage rather than traditional smooth green cabbage because it's easier to roll. I use basmati rice owing to its quick cooking time ~ no chance it will retain any crunch in the final product. Our family cabbage rolls were almost always meatless, made with rice and mushrooms, but I've not only added ground pork but also layered the rolls with smoked side bacon, which adds tremendous flavor. And while my grandmother fermented her heads of cabbage in advance to give the dish a beautiful sour note (a step that distinguishes Romanian cabbage rolls from others), I've simply used sauerkraut itself to achieve some of that pleasant sourness.
Finally, I beg you not to eat your rolls the day you make them. Wait until at least the day after, when the flavors have had a chance to truly blend. Many families will make their rolls well in advance of a holiday and freeze them until needed. —Nostrovia_ca