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Senate Bean Soup with Navy Beans, Ham, and Potatoes


This navy bean soup is similar to the one they have served in the U.S. Senate since early 20th century.


  • 1 pound navy or pea beans, rinsed and picked over
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings or butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped, about 1 cup chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 ham bone, cooked, with some meat, or 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes


In stockpot or Dutch oven, bring beans and water to boil. Boill 2 minutes. Cover and remove from heat. Let stand 1 hour. In a skillet in hot bacon drippings or butter, sauté chopped onion, celery, and garlic until tender and lightly browned. Add vegetables to the beans with ham bone or ham hock; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until beans are tender. Remove ham bone or ham hocks, cut off meat and mince; set aside. With a potato masher, mash beans slightly; stir in salt and pepper. Add potatoes, stirring until smooth. Add minced ham; heat through. Senate Bean Soup serves 4.


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