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Sauerkraut Pork and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)
#Soups and stews
Incredibly comforting meal

Sauerkraut Pork and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)

Jota or Sauerkraut Pork and Bean Stew with Potatoes is a tasty recipe for cold days. It's flavorful, comforting, easy to prepare, and a great family meal.

Sauerkraut Pork and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)
Jota, matevž, ričet, bujta repa. These are all special and traditional Slovenian dishes that are made and served in a large pot. They are all worth trying, and they are all delicious. However, Jota is our favorite. It's especially perfect in winter and late autumn, as it brings so much comfort to the body and soul. Jota celebrates best what Slovenia has to offer. Sauerkraut is often made at home. My (Maja's) parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have been making it at home for more than 100 years. Then we have beans and potatoes, which are a staple in Slovenia too. And, of course, pork. Slovenians adore their pork, so getting the best pork ribs and cooking them in Jota is essential to achieve the most flavor. As with any other traditional foods from any country, one thing is for sure. These dishes are well tested, reinvented, and incredibly delicious.

The best homemade Slovenian Jota

If you only plan to make one recipe in the Slovenian week, we encourage you to make this Jota (YOH-tah) recipe. There's nothing more comforting and delicious than a bowl filled with hot stew. This dish feels like a hug that warms the body and soul. The preparation is simple too, as long as we stay organized. These are the top reasons why we think you're going to like it.

  • very creamy, thick, utterly tasty
  • an excellent combination of sauerkraut, cooked beans, cooked potatoes, and smoked bacon
  • you can easily store it or freeze it for months
  • great recipe for colder days

Sauerkraut Pork and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)

Sauerkraut Pork and Bean Stew (Slovenian Jota)

Tips and tricks for an amazing Sauerkraut Pork and Bean Stew

This recipe is divided into four components: cooking the beans, cooking the sauerkraut, cooking the potatoes, and cooking the whole meal. It might sound like a lot, but in reality, we need a 4-pot stove and four pots (or saucepans) with lids. Below you will find the list with all the instructions and ingredients, and here are some tips and tricks to follow. 

  1. Use dried beans. One night before cooking, soak the beans, then cook them. Sure, you can use cooked, canned beans too, but the flavor and creaminess of the dish won't be quite the same.
  2. Add the slab of smoked bacon and pancetta too. Traditionally, in Slovenia, we cook a slab of smoked bacon with the sauerkraut. Pan-fried pancetta will add an additional slightly salty and meaty component with a lot of flavors.
  3. Don't overcook the potatoes. Cook them until just cooked, because we will continue to cook them in Jota for a couple of minutes.

Najboljša jota

Najboljša jota

Storing and freezing

There are two ways to store this delicious Jota recipe.

Keep the chilled homemade Sauerkraut and pork stew, in the fridge, for up to 3 days. Before serving, reheat in the microwave oven or using a pot.

Feel free to freeze the Jota stew too. In that case, freeze the Jota without the potatoes. Cook the potatoes before serving and add them to the reheated meal. Place it in a freezer-friendly container and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before serving, defrost at room temperature (or in the fridge overnight), then reheat in the microwave oven or using a pot.

How to make Slovenian Jota at home (video)

Check this quick video to master making Jota at home.



Try these amazing one-pot meals too


Lets get cooking!

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  • cook and cook the beans

    One day before making Jota, soak the dried beans in a bowl filled with 1 liter (4 cups) of water. Set aside overnight (but for no longer than 24 hours). The next day, drain the beans and rinse them under running water. Add to a pot along with 1 liter (4 cups) of water, bay leaf, and salt. Cover with a lid and simmer for 40 - 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave in the water for about 10 - 15 minutes. Drain the beans and save the cooking water.

    Feel free to use canned beans. In that case, use 600g or 3 cups cooked beans. We would encourage you to cook dried beans, though, because the dish's flavor will be so much better.
  • cook the sauerkraut

    Rinse the sauerkraut under cold running water. Add the sauerkraut to a small pot along with the slab of smoked bacon, bay leaf, peppercorns, and water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes.

  • cook the potatoes

    In a pot filled with salted water, add peeled large pieces of potatoes. Place over high heat. When the potatoes start to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are nearly cooked.

  • the Jota base

    To a large pot, add the oil, cubbed pancetta, and diced onion. Place over medium-low heat and saute for 2 - 3 minutes for the pancetta to cook. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes for the flour to brown a little bit. Add the paprika powder, diced garlic, and tomato paste. Stir, and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the reserved water from cooking the beans (750ml / 3 cups). Using a whisk, stir continuously until the mixture starts to boil.

    If you're using cooked canned and drained beans, add 750ml (3 cups) of water or broth.
  • JOTA

    Transfer the bacon to a plate, discard the bay leaf. Add the sauerkraut with all the mixture into the Jota base along with the beans. Stir to combine, then add the drained nearly cooked potatoes. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Cut the slab of bacon into six thin (approx. 1 cm or 1/2-inch) slices, then chop the rest of the bacon and add the chopped bacon to the Jota.

  • serve

    Divide the Jota between six plates. Optionally sprinkle with diced parsley and place a slice of bacon on top.


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