La Jota Triestina

The Jota of Trieste


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This tremendously sustaining, rib-sticking soup is the pride of the city of Trieste and exists in various versions, although the basic principle of beans and cabbage remains the same. La jota must be very thick once cooked and is generally thought to be much more delicious the day after it has been made, left to rest overnight and then gently reheated. It is sometimes served as an accompaniment to local meat dishes rather than as an appetizer.


  • 675 g/½ lb/ cups dried borlotti beans, soaked overnight in cold water (alternatively, use 6 x 400 g/14 oz canned beans)
  • 90 ml/6 tbsp olive oil or 50 g/2 oz/¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 115 g/4 oz smoked pancetta, cubed
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 400 g/14 oz sauerkraut
  • 5 ml/1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 25 ml/ tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Drain the beans, then rinse thoroughly and transfer to a pan with fresh water to cover. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse.
  2. Heat half the oil or butter in a large pan and fry the garlic, pancetta and potatoes for 5 minutes. Add the beans. Stir, then add 1 litre/ pints/4 cups water and cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 1½ hours, or until the beans are tender. Add more water if necessary.

  3. Put the sauerkraut, cumin and bay leaf in a pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Cook until the water has almost evaporated.

  4. Heat the remaining oil or butter in a large frying pan. Add the flour and cook it until it is nutty brown. Add the cooked sauerkraut to the frying pan and stir together, then add half the bean mixture.
  5. Push the remaining half of the bean mixture through a food mill into the soup. Alternatively, if you do not have a food mill, you could process the remaining half of the bean mixture in a food processor or blender, then add it to the soup.

  6. Stir the soup well and season to taste, then cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes before serving.