jó-ta (o like in toy, but without the y)
You know the feeling. It creeps up on you every autumn, even though you prepare for it with sweaters, socks, gloves, the works. Somewhere, somehow, it gets you, and unknowing, you continue on. Two days later, you’re stuck in bed, head about to burst, all openings stuffed and all you can think about is hot tea and citrus fruits. Here’s a tangy, savoury stew you can make even if it’s one of those days, although I’m sure it’ll become a staple winter meal once you try it!
The trick with jota is to try it like this first and then adjust the quantities – add more beans or sub the sauerkraut with fermented turnips. I’ve seen jotas with onions and carrots, too. This is just the basic (and IMO best) recipe. If using storebought stock, make sure you buy organic so you avoid the nasty sodium glutaminates in conventional veggie stock.
- 500 g of sauerkraut
- 3 bayleaves
- 5-6 medium-sized potatoes (about 1 kg)
- one organic vegetable stock cube or about 1/2 L stock
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
- 300 g of cooked brown beans (100 g dry)
- smoked seitan*
You will be needing two pots and a colander. In one, combine sauerkraut with just enough water to cover, add bayleaves and let simmer while you prep the other pot. Peel and cut the potatoes into 2 cm chunks, add water to cover and the stock cube or, if you have liquid stock, just enough to cover the potatoes. By this time, the sauerkraut is ready, so drain it in the colander and start cooking the potatoes. While they’re cooking, drain and rinse your beans and set aside. After about 15 minutes, the potatoes should be done; drain the excess stock into the second pot, roughly mash about ⅔ of the taters, add the sauerkraut and mix a bit. Slowly add the liquid back until achieving desired consistency, then the beans and some peppercorn, and simmer to heat the beans through. If using, add the smoked seitan here, too. Salt to taste and serve with dark bread. Enjoy!