Senate bean soup recipe

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Politics Gets Into The Soup

A recipe of long-standing for bean soup has been a daily mainstay in the United States Senate dining room for several generations. Because it is made in such large quantities, it isn’t feasible for home use. But my recipe will give you a similar, smaller batch version for those who wish to try it out without making gallons at a time. Bon Appetit!


Senate bean soup recipe


  • 1 cup dried white pea beans (or Navy beans), sorted, rinsed, drained
  • ¼ to ½ pound ham slice or ham bone with meat
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped, including tops
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 1 & ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (for garnish)
  1. Put beans into soup pot, rinse beans, drain and rinse again before cooking.
  2. In the same soup pot over medium-high heat, bring 3 quarts of water and the beans to a boil and reduce heat to low.
  3. Add ham bone or ham. Cover pot and let simmer one hour.
  4. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, melt butter, add chopped onions, celery and garlic; saute until vegetables are soft. Add vegetables to the cooked soup and let simmer an additional 1&1/2 hours or until beans are thoroughly cooked.
  5. Remove ham bone if using. Scrape off any remaining meat and return to pot. Discard ham bone.
  6. Add salt and white pepper.
  7. Serve in soup bowls with a side of corn bread, crusty white bread or crackers. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.






Nancy Hardin is a highly experienced writer and author. A retired journalist, she is also a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother with a wealth of experience in many fields. In addition, she is a retiree veteran, having spent many years in the Women’s Army Corps. She is also an experienced ghostwriter and you can see more about her skills at the The Writers’Door. YOu can visit Nancy’s website here and discover more of her work at this site.

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  1. I will have to try it sometime soon.

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    • Thanks Sandy, this is a famous bean soup, served in the Senate dining room for several generations. I just adapted it for a smaller serving. Hope you try and enjoy it. 🙂

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  2. Nancy, I’ve always enjoyed Senate Bean Soup and it’s on my list of soups to try making at home. Pinning your delicious-sounding recipe to my Souper Soups board!

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  3. Navy bean and ham soup has always been one of my favorites, and I have tried several “Senate Bean Soup” recipes that I hoped would taste like the one from my childhood. I’m definitely adding this to my Pinterest board, “Recipes to try.”

    I can smell the soup, just reading your recipe!

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