Inspiration: Senate Bean Soup

updated Jun 9, 2019
Senate Bean Soup
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

There are lots of important races for Senate across the country today. At this point, there’s not much we can do other than get out there and vote. Whenever I feel helpless, it’s always good to get into the kitchen and make a big pot of something.

What better something for today than Senate Bean Soup? It’s been a daily fixture on the menu of the US Senate Restaurant in Washington since the early 1900s. The previous link shows two recipes and also two alternative stories about the origin of the soup. Basically some senator from somewhere requested that it always be on the menu. The recipe after the jump is from my vintage copy of The Famous American Recipes Cookbook (Prentice Hall 1957). There are many other versions online, like Steve’s of Rancho Gordo. Pick your favorite and don’t forget to vote!

Senate Bean Soup

Makes 8

Nutritional Info


  • 2 cups

    dried white beans

  • Pinch of baking soda

  • 1

    smoked ham bone or ham hock

  • 1 tablespoon

    minced parsley

  • 1 cup

    finely chopped onions

  • 2 cups

    finely chopped celery with tops

  • 1 clove


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons


  • 1/4 teaspoon



  1. Soak beans overnight with the soda in enough water to cover. Rinse and place in soup kettle or large pot with the ham bone and 3 quarts of water. Simmer gently for 2 hours. Add parsley, onions, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour or longer or until the beans are tender. Remove the ham bone, dice the meat from the bone and return to the kettle.