rice and spices
Place a pan over medium heat. Add oil, diced onion, and chopped pancetta. Cook for 6 minutes for the ingredients to soften. Add minced garlic, spices, and rice. Cook for 1 - 2 minutes. Pour in the water and cook for 5 minutes for the rice to cook slightly. Set aside to cool.
Add meat, rice mixture, parsley, egg, salt, and pepper to a bowl. Knead into a smooth mixture. Clean sixteen cabbage leaves. With a knife, remove the tough ribs without damaging the cabbage leaves. Set the ribs aside. Add two tablespoons of meat filling to the bottom of each cabbage leaf. Fold the bottom of the cabbage leaf over the meat. Fold the sides to the center and roll away from yourself as if you were making enchiladas. Repeat until you use all the ingredients.
add to a pot
Grate the rest of the sauerkraut and finely chop the remaining ribs. Add half of the remaining chopped ribs to the bottom of a large pot. Add half of the cabbage rolls in a single layer, seam-side down. Leave a bit of space between the rolls. Spread the rest of the cabbage ribs and half of the sauerkraut over the sarma. Add the slab of bacon and arrange the rest of the sarma on top. Spread the rest of the sauerkraut on top.
Pour water into the pot with cabbage rolls until the water is a little over the cabbage rolls, approximately one liter and a half (6 cups). Place the pot over medium heat and bring it to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for two and a half hours.
add roux and cook
Place a pan over medium heat. Add oil and the flour and cook for 1 - 2 minutes for the flour to cook. Reduce the heat and add paprika powder and tomato paste. Cook for another minute. Remove from the heat. Add 360ml (1 1/2 cup) cabbage rolls cooking liquid. Whisk to get a smooth mixture and pour back into the pot with the cabbage rolls. Gently shake the pot, cover it with a lid and cook for 30 - 45 minutes or until the cabbage rolls are soft and cooked.