Senate Bean Soup Recipe -
Senate Bean Soup Recipe

Senate Bean Soup

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"Very similar recipe to the soup served at the U.S. Senate Dining Room in Washington, D.C."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 10 to 12 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    2 hrs 20 mins

    2 hrs 40 mins


  1. Put beans in a large bowl, add water to cover and soak overnight. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ham shank and 4 cups water and simmer for about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bone and shred meat. Set bone and meat aside for later. (Note: reserve the stock, if desired, to replace the ham base.)
  2. Drain the beans. In an 8 quart pot over high heat, combine the beans, 12 cups fresh water and ham base. (Note: At this point, if desired, measure reserved stock from step 1, add water to total 12 cups liquid, and use this mixture to eliminate the ham base.) Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic powder, ham, ham bone and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are tender. Add additional water as needed. (Note: Soup should be thick enough to heavily coat a spoon.)
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Jan 08, 2008

I make a similar version of this soup for my family. The major differences between this one and mine are that, once it has cooked (and cooled off a bit), I: (1) emulsify approximately 1/3rd of my pot with my immersion blender and (2) add 1/2 cup of milk or half-and-half to give it a creamier texture.

Most Helpful Critical Review
May 14, 2005

The "true" recipe for Senate Bean Soup seems very elusive! I have 5 different versions and none agree, sometimes even as to the type of bean to be used. I long ago decided, "Just call it 'Bean Soup', and enjoy!" They are all good.

Dec 30, 2003

I have had the soup in the Senate Dining Room, and this is the very much like it. The best bean soup I have had.

Oct 18, 2006

We had a version of Senate Soup at the Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire. It was delicious...and, this recipe equals it. Great on a cool evening...and a great use for left over ham bones. Thank you!

Mar 29, 2003

A good hearty soup for cool evenings. Great with hot crusty bread. -I wonder if this soup is where all the senatorial hot air comes from? ;)

Mar 06, 2007

I used three leftover fresh ham bones from a recent party to make my stock. I save all of my carrot, onion, celery, potato, etc. peels and freeze them just for making stocks. Made the stock yesterday, so by today, I was able to skim off all of the fat. I used two packages of beans, so I needed to add more liquid which I did using canned chicken stock. Delicious and hearty Yvonne and perfect for an extremely cold NJ night. Thanks!

Dec 29, 2008

I scaled this recipe down to roughly 4-5 portions and made the following changes: used 1 QT of vegetable stock, canned beans, ham bone from Christmas ham w/ remaining meat chopped up into the soup, and added 1 can of Italian stewed tomatoes. Since there was plenty of salt in the stock, the ham, and the tomatoes I did not add more salt, and used 3 roughly crushed cloves of garlic instead of the powder. The end result was absolutely delicious.

Jan 31, 2011

We really loved this soup! I made broth with the hambone as suggested. I used to have a Senate Bean Soup recipe (that I loved) that included basil and oregano, so I added a teaspoon of each. Perfect for a cold night!


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  • Calories
  • 385 kcal
  • 19%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 53.8 g
  • 17%
  • Cholesterol
  • 21 mg
  • 7%
  • Fat
  • 8.1 g
  • 12%
  • Fiber
  • 17.2 g
  • 69%
  • Protein
  • 26.3 g
  • 53%
  • Sodium
  • 966 mg
  • 39%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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