LA JOTA – Bean and Sauerkraut Soup from Trieste

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“La Jota” is part of an extremely ancient tradition of the Carnic Alps and is also one of the many examples of a single dish that can make a whole meal. It originated as a dish of the poor but nowadays this “peasant” dish can be found on the menus of most fashionable restaurants in Trieste.

There are numerous versions and it is difficult to provide a recipe that takes into account all the local variations. This recipe is from the area of Trieste. Since it is a bit time-consuming to make, and tastes even better the second day, you may as well make a big pot of it!

  • 2 C. red kidney or cranberry beans, soaked in water overnight
  • 1 lb. smoked pork loin (lean chops), cut into bite size pieces
  • 6 oz. piece slab bacon, cut lean part into bite size pieces, reserve fat
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 C. broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs. sauerkraut, rinsed once (only if very acidic)
  • 4 med. starchy potatoes (russets), peeled and coarsely diced
  • 1 T. caraway seeds
  • 3 T. flour
  • S & P


Drain the beans and put them in a large stock pot with the smoked pork loin, lean bacon, bay leaves and 6 C. broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer gently for about 1 hr. or until the beans are almost tender.

In a food processor mince the bacon fat with the garlic, to form a paste. Sauté the paste over low heat for about 5 min., then sprinkle with the flour. Cook for about 2 min. until barely beginning to color. Add to the beans.

Add the sauerkraut, potatoes, caraway seeds and more water if necessary; and cook over med. heat until the potatoes are tender. Add S & P to taste. Discard the bay leaves and serve very hot.

OPTIONAL: If you want a thicker soup, remove some of the potatoes with a slotted spoon, mash them and return them to the pot.