Slovene Cuisine #11: Jota

As the cold weather continues in the Northern Hemisphere, I bring you a dish to warm the cockles of your heart. Jota is a thick and hearty soup made with beans and sour cabbage. This dish is a blend of Mediterranean and Central European culinary traditions. It is popular all over Slovenian Istria, and also in the Alpine region, where you will find it on the menu in most kočas (mountain huts offering shelter and refreshment to tired hikers).


  • 500g sour cabbage
  • 300g borlotti beans (soak overnight in cold water)
  • 300g potatoes, cubed
  • 3 onions, finely chopped
  • 300g smoked pork ribs, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • sour cream to serve


  • Heat the lard in a large saucepan and fry the onions until they are softened and translucent.
  • Add the drained beans, pork ribs and peppercorns and cover with water, then bring to the boil, lower the heat to medium and cook for half an hour until the beans begin to soften.
  • Add the potatoes and bay leaves and cook for a further half hour.
  • Add the sour cabbage and cook for half an hour longer. If you want your soup to be less sour, rinse the cabbage before adding.
  • Fry the garlic in a little olive oil or lard until golden, then add the paprika and cook for a further minute. Stir this mixture into the jota. Cook for a further 15 minutes over a medium heat.
  • Add the marjoram and salt and pepper to taste. Remove the jota from the heat and let it stand for 15 minutes to thicken.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.

Translated from

This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for several days, and in fact the flavour improves after 1-2 days of storage. You can omit the pork ribs and fry in olive oil for a vegetarian alternative, or add some smoked sausage if you prefer extra meat.

Dober tek!

14 thoughts on “Slovene Cuisine #11: Jota

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  1. We just got a lovely snowfall so the world is white outside and the time for warming foods has come. I love the looks of this dish; flavorful, rich soup is perfect for colder weather!

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