Remove gently not to break the cabbage leaves.
You will only need the large leaves to make the rolls.
The middle part will be chopped and added between cabbage rolls layers.
Cut each large leaf in half, removing the tough core part too to make it easier to roll them.
Add a tablespoon of ground meat mixture to each half leaf.
Cover the filling with the edge from the base of the leaf. Bend edges on both sides and cover over the filling.
Roll the stuffed cabbage leaf holding firm, so they won’t break during cooking time. Repeat these steps until you finish all of your group meat mixture.
Roughly chop smaller leaves or some that broke during the rolling process and set aside.
Place big saucepan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the rest of chopped onions for 2-3 minutes.
Add part of chopped sour cabbage leaves and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Distribute the whole mixture on an even bottom layer and turn the heat to minimum.
Start adding the rolls, creating a first level.
Add some chopped smoked bacon, 2 bay leaves and some more chopped sour cabbage.
Start creating the second level, putting rolls to the saucepan.
When you finish the layer, add some more chopped sour cabbage on top, smoked bacon, another 2 bay leaves and some fresh thyme.
Add half part sour cabbage juice and half part water to cover the rolls entirely.
Place a lid on top of the saucepan and braise them on low heat for at least 2.5 hours, or bake in a 300 degree Fahrenheit oven for 3 hours.
Serve hot immediately with sour cream on top.