Senate Bean Soup
Adapted from U.S. Senate
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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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/
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