An adaptation of the historic recipe, Senate Bean Soup has been a staple in the U.S. Senate dining room for more than 100 years.  We preferred to enjoy this soup with hearty whole wheat rolls or Sweet Potato Biscuits with soft creamery butter on the side.
Senate Bean Soup

Senate Bean Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soups and Stews
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 pound navy beans, dried
  • 1 ham bone (get one with plenty of meat on it)
  • 12 Cups water
  • 3 medium onions, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped fine
  • 1/4 Cup parsley (fresh), chopped fine
  • 1 Cup potatoes, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoons pepper
  • 1/4 Cup chives (fresh), chopped
Instructions
  1. Wash the beans and remove those that float in the wash water. Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover them by several inches. Drain.
  2. In a large kettle, place 3 quarts of cold water. Add the drained beans and the ham bone and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours. If scum forms on the surface, skim it off.
  3. Chop the onions, garlic, celery and parsley. Add to the pot. Add the mashed potato to the pot. Simmer 1 more hour.
  4. Check the beans. If they are not yet tender, then simmer some more. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Remove the ham bone and pull the meat from it. Cut the meat into small chunks and toss them back into the soup.
  6. Serve piping hot into preheated bowls and sprinkle chopped fresh chives atop each.
Notes
* Bean soup as served in the U.S. Senate dining room.

This is one of the best bean soups we have ever tasted. Serve it with a big loaf of fresh hot homemade whole-wheat bread, from which people just tear the bread with their fingers.

* The House of Representatives serves a version without the onions and garlic and mashed potatoes.

* Great Northern beans are an adequate substitute for Navy beans. If you forgot to soak them overnight and still want to make the soup, you can simmer them for an hour and then discard that water. The beans end up with slightly more flavor if you cold-soak them.

* You can almost certainly get away with using instant mashed potato flakes to acquire the 1 cup of mashed potatoes that this recipe calls for.

Difficulty: average.
Time: 8 hours soaking, 10 minutes preparation, 3 hours cooking.
Precision: no need to measure.

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