Jota triestina is a sauerkraut soup enriched with potatoes and beans that is a staple dish in Northeastern Italy. This recipe draws from Austrian traditions, more specifically Austrian-Hungarian. Trieste was part of the Austrian-Hungarian empire until 1918. This soup is warming and filling, perfect during winter.
There are so many variations of jota triestina, so this is my own interpretation. You can enrich the soup with more meat, for example pork ribs. You can use chicken stock, you can add paprika and bay leaves.
200 gr potatoes (or 1 medium baking potato)
200 gr sauerkraut
200 gr cooked kidney beans (or borlotti beans)
100 gr chopped onion (1/2 a large onion)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons plain flour
1.5 litres water (or vegetable stock)
70 gr bacon, chopped
In one pan, heat one tablespoon of oil and cook the chopped bacon for 5 minutes, then set the bacon aside. Add the chopped onion. Cook for 5 minutes on a low to medium heat, add a couple of tablespoons of water and reduce for another 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, cook for a minute then add the flour. Cook the flour for at least 2 minutes.
In the meantime, in another pan cooked the potato cut into chunks and the beans in a litre of water for 15 minutes.
Choose whichever pan is larger and combine the onion and flour mixture with the bacon, add the sauerkraut and the cooked potatoes and beans with their cooking liquid. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for at least 1.5 hours. Check every so often that the bottom doesn’t catch, stir and add a bit of water.
After 1.5 hours, turn off the heat and look lovingly at the soup for one day. I’m not kidding! The soup actually tastes better if you let it rest for one day. Once it has cooled down, store it in the fridge. It will thicken and the flavours will develop more.
To serve, re-heat adding a bit of water to loosen it. You may want to add a bit of salt if you like but the sauerkraut is already salty.
Would you like to learn how to make your own sauerkraut at home? It’s actually quite easy, all you need is a bit of patience.