This tastes for all the world like sarmas (cabbage rolls) without the muss and fuss, a delicious alternative. If you love cabbage rolls, but don't like the bother of the individual rolls, give this a try. This has remained one of my highly requested recipes throughout the years.
Cut bacon into small pieces (I slice down the middle of a piece and then chop it) and brown well.
Remove the pieces of bacon and then brown your diced onion in the bacon grease (yes, use bacon fat).
Remove your onions and brown your ground beef (this is all the same pan). Season the ground beef with salt, pepper, and garlic granules.
Mix your meat, bacon pieces, and onions together.
While you're doing the browning, have your rice cooking in the tomato juice, also make sure to use the salt, pepper, and garlic granules, to taste, in the rice pot. Cook rice until "almost" done (15-17 minutes).
When your rice is done, add your meat mixture to the rice and mix together well.
Now the layering process, in the following order going from bottom to top ...
1. 1/2 of the Cabbage
2. 1/2 of the Sauerkraut
3. 1/2 of the Meat/rice mixture.
Repeat the layering one more time.
Bake covered in a 350 degree oven for approximately 1-1/2 hours. If it seems dry, add some hot water around the edges BUT DO NOT STIR MIXTURE! (Usually it is not dry.)
Note: I have doubled this in a large roasting pan for bigger crowds, or made two hot dishes(normal recipe amount fits into a 2.5-3 qt size hot dish). Also, depending on the cabbage size, I've not used the entire thing, just eyeball it while layering. You want nice coverage, but not so much that it is all you have, as the sauerkraut goes on top of that.