Drain the rice, and add to the bowl. Mix everything together well.
Take one of the cabbage leaves, and depending on its size, add 1-2 tbsp of the filling, and roll up (see the images and video above). Place in the pan on top of the sauerkraut bits.
Repeat until all the leaves have been used up. (note 7)
Add the bay leaves, thyme, and savory (rosemary) to the pot, then mix together the rest of the gravy ingredients.
Pour the gravy over the sarmale, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cover the pot, reduce the heat to its lowest setting, and leave to simmer for around three hours. (note 8)
Any leftovers can be kept in the 'fridge in an airtight container for up to 10 days... when they'll taste even more awesome than on the day they were made!
If you can't get a whole sauerkraut, you can use a raw cabbage instead but you'll need to blanch the leaves to make them pliable enough to roll. As with the sauerkraut, put the 'scraps' on the bottom of your dish or pot, and then place the sarmale on top.
Or use your favourite vegetable bouillon or stock powder.
In the US, soya mince/veggie mince may be known as 'crumbles' or vegan/vegetarian ground beef.
Or 1 tbsp of dried thyme.
Or 1 large sprig fresh rosemary / 1 tbsp dried.
I used sunflower in Romania because it's produced locally but do feel free to use any neutral-tasting oil.
I use my own stock, made from veggie peelings but if you want to use stock cubes or powder, try to get low-sodium.
If you have any filling left, this can be mixed in with the gravy.
These sarmale can also be cooked in a slow cooker (e.g. Crock-Pot) on low for 10-12 hours, or in a low-ish oven (170°C/325°F/gas mark 3).