I was quite surprised to find out that the recipe doesn't call for any seafood, so I had to try it right away. I'm not really a seafood fan, you know... :)
It's main ingredients are beans, potatoes, meat and sauerkraut, with slight differences between countries. Namely, the Slovenian version is usually prepared with sour turnip rather than sauerkraut, and when it comes to the meat, smoked pork ribs and bacon are the most common, but pork sausages are also used. Some rare versions even omit meat completely.
Jota is normally prepared as a soup and served as a main dish with crusty toasted bread or polenta, but it can also me made a bit thicker, like a stew. The meatless stew version is sometimes served as a side dish with roasted and grilled meat. Whichever one you choose, keep in mind that the preparation itself isn't difficult at all, but it takes quite a long time to make it, approx. 3 hours.
Considering that the regular version of jota with meat is quite hearty and fatty, thus traditionally prepared in the wintertime, I decided to cook the less strong, veggie-only version, as the sun is already sizzling a lot here! :)
So, this is how I prepared it and which ingredients I used to make 6 servings:
- 100 g raw beans
- 2 medium-sized potatoes
- 300 g sauerkraut
- 2 medium-sized onions
- 1 medium-sized carrot
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon lard (OR 4 tablespoons oil)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- to taste salt and pepper
- First of all, cook the beans, as this will take you the most of the time. Wash the beans and put them into a pot. Add the bay leaves and pour in 2 liters of cold water. Bring to a boil over the highest heat, then reduce to the lowest and cook until beans are soft and tender, but still firm.
If you're in a hurry and you want to speed up the process, you can use canned beans. You'll need 300 g of drained canned beans.
- Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Finely chop onions and garlic. Peel and dice the potatoes. Slice the carrot and the sauerkraut. If the sauerkraut is too sour or too salty, rinse it with some cold water before chopping it.
3. Put lard into a bigger and deeper pot and melt it over medium fire. You can use oil instead. Add onions and cook them, stirring occasionally, until soft. Add garlic and carrots and cook until garlic releases its distinctive aroma. Then add potatoes, sauerkraut, parsley, paprika and some pepper. Mix, cook for a couple of minutes and pour in some water, just enough to cover the ingredients. You can use the water in which the beans cooked. Cook covered, for approx. 30 minutes, until potatoes and sauerkraut are soft and tender.
This is how it looks like...
If using canned beans, add as many water as you want your soup to be thick. Before the very end, doctor the taste with some salt.
Note that I used 2 liters of water in total and I got a soup that was thick enough by itself. If you prefer it to be even thicker, add less water or stir in 1 tablespoon of flour when you add the beans.
If you want to make a stew, add just the beans without the water and bake the dish into preheated oven at 200°C for 15-20 minutes.
Serve the jota warm, with some roasted bread and some scallions. As I mentioned above, it can be served with polenta as well, and this cornbread would go great with it!
Enjoy and bon appétit!