Slovenian Bean and Sauerkraut Hotpot (Jota)

Slovenian Bean and Sauerkraut Hotpot or Jota

Barbara Rolek

Prep: 55 mins
Cook: 90 mins
Soak: 8 hrs
Total: 10 hrs 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
488 Calories
14g Fat
62g Carbs
30g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 488
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 37mg 12%
Sodium 1403mg 61%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 22%
Dietary Fiber 14g 49%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 30g
Vitamin C 24mg 120%
Calcium 100mg 8%
Iron 7mg 37%
Potassium 1664mg 35%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for bean and sauerkraut hotpot, known as jota (YOH-tah) in Slovenian, is adapted from "The Food and Cooking of Slovenia" by Janez Bogataj (Anness Publishing Ltd., 2008).

Pork is the meat of choice for the majority of Slovenes, especially in winter around pig-slaughtering time known as koline. Some form of pork goes into this dish and it is particularly tasty when the pork is smoked.

Bread and potatoes are other staple foods of Slovenia so, along with beans, they find their way into this filling, comfort-food dish that comes from the Primorska region near the Adriatic Sea.

Its sweet-sour flavor profile is typical of Eastern European foods. Some jotas are made with sour turnip known as kisla ripa in place of the sauerkraut. Serve with crusty bread and you have a meal guaranteed to chase the blues away, not to mention the chills!


  • 2 cups dry kidney beans, soaked overnight in cold water

  • 8 ounces smoked pork spareribs, or slab bacon, rind removed

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups vegetable stock, or pork or chicken stock

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 1 pound sauerkraut, drained and rinsed

  • 1 dash salt

  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Drain the soaked beans and place them in a large saucepan filled with cold water to cover by several inches. Bring to a boil and continue boiling briskly for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until beans are tender but not mushy. Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process, and set aside.

  2. In a large saucepan, sauté the spareribs or bacon until the fat begins to render out. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until onion is golden, but not browned. Stir in stock, tomato paste, potatoes and sauerkraut. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes or until potatoes and sauerkraut are very tender and the mixture is thick.

  3. Remove pork, cut into bite-sized pieces and return to the saucepan along with the cooked beans and warm through, about 10 minutes. Adjust the seasonings. Some cooks thicken their jota with a roux if it is too soupy. But this is a subjective matter and one person's idea of the proper thickness of a jota is definitely not another's. Serve it the way you like it.

Origin of Hotpots

Hotpots exist in every culture with the ingredients varying on what's available locally and seasonally. The English are famous for Lancanshire hotpot, known in other countries, including America, as hotchpotch, hodgepodge or stampot or hutspot in Dutch and hochepot in French.

These one-pot meals fall somewhere between a very thick soup and a hearty vegetable-and-meat stew, depending on the amount of liquid left in the end product.