Tag Archives: Soups

Senate Bean Soup — Classic Homemade Goodness!



Did you know Capital Hill has their own soup?

                                               …I guess it’s famous….

And they’ve served it there for more than 100 years.

Who knew?

I sure didn’t until I ran across this cool article about it a few years ago.

From what I read, there have been several versions over the years, but the original recipe included mashed potatoes, which they said changed after a potato shortage in the 1950s.

Well, my grandmother Pearl’s navy bean soup tasted nearly identical to this one, so that explains to me why it’s been popular with Senators for this long.

Lucky them!

But, I guess anyone who eats in the cafeteria can order Senate Bean soup now…

…It’s no longer exclusive to just the few.

Isn’t that great!

You know where I’m headed first if I ever get to Washington D. C., right?

Now the original recipe calls for soaking the beans overnight and cooking the ham on the bone first. (That’s how Grandma Pearl did it too!) But I quick soaked the dried beans and used leftover holiday ham.

I also prefer Gordon Foods Chicken Base because its creamy and adds great flavor. (Skip their ham base… It’s too salty.) But you can use one large can (49 oz) of chicken broth instead of Chicken base and water if you prefer.

Senate Bean Soup

1 pound dried navy beans, picked over. Soak beans overnight in 3 times their volume of cold water. (To quick soak: In a large pot or Dutch oven, cover the beans in water, bring to a boil, turn off and allow to soak 1 hour, drain and rinse.)
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 pound leftover ham, shredded
1 Tbsp chicken base (or to taste)
2 large russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup milk
Freshly ground pepper

1. In Dutch oven or large pot, saute onion, celery, garlic, parsley in 1 tbsp butter until slightly caramelized. Add rinsed beans, 10 cups of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cook until beans are tender about 1 hour, 30 minutes.

2. Next, dice one potato and add it to the pot, along with the chicken base. Bring soup to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, add ham and cook about 1 hour.

3. Meanwhile, poke holes in the second potato with fork, place in microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap, cook 3 minutes on high in microwave, or until you can press a fork through to center. Mash the potato, allow to cool slightly, add 1 tbsp of butter and milk then stir. Add mashed potato to soup as it cooks on low, adding up to 1 or 2 more cups of water if the soup is too thick. Season with black pepper and serve with bread and butter or cornbread if you like. ModernHenHome.com


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