View Full Version : U.S. Senate Bean Soup

06-25-2009, 01:42 PM
Here's the reply I sent out to the 20 or so who requested this recipe. I'm posting it here as well in case I missed anyone. Thank.


O.K. FOLKS. Sorry for the delay. I spilled iced tea on my laptop and fried a bunch of stuff. Six hundred and fifty bucks later I’m back in action. New rule though, no more drinks in the same vicinity as the computer. Anyway… Here’s the bean soup recipe I promised everyone.


This soup has been on the menu at the U.S. senate restaurant inside the senate building in Washington, DC every day since 1901. I got it from a my neighbor‘s father in law who just retired from there after forty one years. He says the recipe is no great secret, just not widely known. It’s not at all complicated and I think it makes for the best bean soup I have ever made or tasted. I made a large pot of this and gave some to the retired gentleman and he says it’s “spot on”.

The following recipe is for a yield of about twelve cups, but you can scale it up or down as your needs be. If unsure, go for a bigger batch. It freezes well and the full batch I made was gone in a few days.

2 ½ cups of Great Northern or any other available white bean over night in cool water, just enough to cover the beans plus about a half inch to allow for absorption. Make certain as to carefully pick the beans over to cull out any small rocks or debris left over from the harvesting process. Check from time to time to ensure that the water still covers all the beans. Add water as necessary.

When ready to cook, drain the beans and place in a large soup pot along with…
One large or two small ham hocks or leftover hambones (the more ham trimmings left on the bone the better)
14 cups of new, fresh cold water.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the beans are tender, probably about 1 ¼ hours. Remove the ham hock or hambone and any skin and/or uncongealed fat (leaving the soup to gently simmer) and remove any ham on the bone, dice it and return it to the pot. If more ham is desired you can dice up any salted ham or even some back bacon or fatback. And throw it in at this time

Add to the pot…
2 large yellow onions diced.
6 medium sized celery ribs with leaves, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled and finely diced
4 garlic cloves minced
3 teaspoons of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Simmer until the potato pieces are very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until the soup is a bit thicker and creamier (I take few large ladle of the beans and a little broth and cream them in the blender with a pint of heavy cream then add that back to the pot, then kill the heat and let it sit for a few minutes and thicken.

Before serving stir in…
4 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley.

06-25-2009, 10:09 PM
Thanks Bear,
I have a busy weekend this weekend, but I'll make this recipe either next week or next weekend.

Where do I get a ham hock? Just ask the butcher? I don't want to wait until a ham roast is on the menu.....

06-25-2009, 11:04 PM
Yup ask the butcher or woodmans in madison has em........ 1beeers