Jota: Sauerkraut, Bean and Pork Soup

“Mario Batali's recipe for a hearty, warming Northern Italian soup, pronounced "hota". You can use any good chicken stock with good results, but Mario's Brown Chicken Stock will give the best. Other beans, such as pinto or borlotti, can also be used. This recipe is from a 2001 Food Network show and is no longer available on their web site. Use pancetta or bacon in place of speck, if unavailable. Prep time is for soaking the beans.”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 10 ounces dried kidney beans
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 12 lbs pork shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 14 lb slice speck, finely diced
  • 3 large sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 quart mario's brown chicken stock or 1 quart other good chicken stock
  • 8 ounces sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
  • 13 cup polenta flour


  1. Bring the kidney beans to a boil in a large pot with plenty of salted water. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 1 hour.
  2. In a large casserole or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over high heat. Season the pork well with salt and pepper and sear on all sides, working in batches if necessary, and remove the meat when it is browned. Add the speck, sage, parsley, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes before returning it to the casserole.
  3. Drain the beans and add them to the casserole with the stock and the sauerkraut and bring to a simmer. Cook the mixture slowly for 45 minutes, or until the pork is very tender and the beans are cooked through.
  4. Slowly sprinkle the polenta over the stew and stir constantly for 10 minutes, or until the polenta has expanded. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

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