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Senate Bean Soup

Adapted from U.S. Senate

Senate Bean Soup ~ slightly modified by Sumptuous Spoonfuls

Did you know every day in the U.S. Senate restaurant they serve this soup? Well, not exactly THIS soup because I didn’t quite follow the recipe (I can’t follow a recipe! and besides, I don’t have an entire Senate to feed), but a soup very much like this. There are two variations on the Senate web site: the one served today includes mashed potatoes (which I had none of), garlic, celery and parsley, the other just onions, beans, butter and ham.

I had to add a little color (in the form of carrots), and I had no parsley so I used thyme instead. If you have some mashed potatoes about, throw them in the soup as well. If not, well, it still turns out a perfectly comforting soup. Not all that exotic or exciting, but sometimes you want a nice, homey, comforting ham and bean soup.

Senate Bean Soup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: About 1 1/2 quarts of soup

Senate Bean Soup


  • 1/2 lb navy beans, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 smoked ham hock (or, better yet, a ham bone)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 3 - 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • Salt & pepper (and/or Chicken Better than Bouillon) to taste
  • Fresh thyme leaves (or a teaspoon or so of dried thyme)


  1. Put the beans in a medium saucepan with the bay leaf, ham hock (or bone) and garlic and cover with water to an inch or so above the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for an hour or longer or until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Add more warm water during the cooking if the beans soak it all up. Pull out the ham hock and let it rest till cooled, then pull any meat you find on it to add to the soup later.
  2. Now heat a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter, then saute the onion and celery in the butter until the onion is soft & translucent. Add the carrot and saute for a minute or two longer.
  3. Stir the veggies into the bean soup. Add more water if desired, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for about 10 - 20 minutes longer or until the carrots are tender. Stir in the chopped ham and any ham you've pulled from the bone. Add salt and pepper (and/or bouillon) to taste along with the thyme.


If you get bored with the plain ham & bean taste of the soup, try stirring in some interesting spices. Some days I was pleased with the soup "as is", but then I wanted some variety and spice, so one day I mixed in some Turkish seasoning, another day I added some Creole seasoning, another day I added turmeric and cayenne.

RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/

© Copyright 2013, Sumptuous Spoonfuls. All images & content are copyright protected. I love it when you share, but please do not use my images on your own site/page without prior permission. If you want to publish any of my images, please ask first. Sharing, pinning, and tweeting is always appreciated as long as the shares and pins link back to here for the recipe. If you want to republish this recipe as your own, please re-write the recipe in your own words or link back to this post for the recipe.


Senate Bean Soup ~ slightly modified by Sumptuous Spoonfuls

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayFull Plate Thursday, What to Do Weekends, Kitchen Dreaming Soup PartyWeekend Potluck and Inspiration Monday.

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5 Responses

  1. LOVE this soup! It’s very close to the one my grandmother used to make and is a staple on my winter menu! Sometimes I don’t include the ham and use a strip ow two of bacon for flavor… Thanks, Ann! xoxo

    December 10, 2013 at 12:51 am

    • Ann

      Oh then I know it is a winner if you like it Michele! Thank you 🙂

      December 11, 2013 at 12:18 am

  2. I love your Bean Soup, it is perfect for this cold rainy day we are having and the temp is dropping by the hour. Bring on the hot soup! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and enjoy your weekend!
    Miz Helen

    December 13, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  3. Featured!! PINNED> Linda


    December 19, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    • Ann

      Woo hoo! Thank you Linda 🙂

      December 20, 2013 at 6:38 pm