Slow Cooker Senator Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Senator Bean Soup

Slow Cooker Senator Bean Soup
This simple soup is on the menu of the U.S. Senate's restaurant every day and with good reason. It's really good and simple to make. This is my slow cooker version as most days I am not able to watch a simmering pot for hours.There is a history behind this soup but it is not exactly known where this soup mandate came from. According to one story, the Senateโ€™s bean soup tradition began early in the 20th-century at the request of Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho. Another story attributes the request to Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota, who expressed his fondness for the soup in 1903. Regardless of its origins, this is one tasty substantial soup you'll want to make over and over again during the nippier times of the year.
    Servings
    8people
    Cook Time
    HIGH 6-8 hrs; LOW 10 hrs
    Meal Plan
    Add to Meal Plan:
    This recipe has been added to your Meal Plan
    Servings
    8people
    Cook Time
    HIGH 6-8 hrs; LOW 10 hrs
    Meal Plan
    Add to Meal Plan:
    This recipe has been added to your Meal Plan
    Ingredients
    • 1pound dried navy beans
    • 1teaspoon canola or coconut oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
    • 3 stalks celery, diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 ham hocks and 8 ounces diced cooked ham
    • 2 bay leaves
    • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    Instructions
    1. Soak the beans overnight (discard the damaged ones) or use the quick soak method: Place the dried beans (remove any damaged ones) in a heavy stock pot and cover with water (about 2" above the beans or 8 cups). Bring the water to a boil; boil for 2 minutes; remove from heat; cover and let sit for 1 hour. Whichever method you use, drain the beans and set aside.
    2. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and saute the onions and the following 3 ingredients (through garlic) until onions are translucent about 4-5 minutes. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the slow cooker. Add in the drained beans, the ham bone, 6-7 cups of water ( for me it was only 6 cups before it was close to top of the slow cooker), and the bay leaves. If you are using ham hocks and diced ham instead of a meaty ham bone, add both in at the same time.
    3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6-8 hours or on LOW for 10 hours.
    4. Remove 2 cups of the bean soup to a deep bowl and puree with an immersion blender or puree in your blender. Add back the bean puree to the soup.
    5. If using the ham bone, remove bone but add back in the meat in small pieces. Remove the bay leaves. Taste to see if you need sea salt and add a bit of ground black pepper. Serve hot.
    Recipe Notes

    If you are not adverse to some more carbs, a crusty warm loaf of bread would be pretty yummy. I usually serve a side salad or braised greens as a side to this soup.

    Mr. Dubois' version included mashed potatoes, but this is expected from a fine Senator from Idaho. The version served at the Senate today does not include the mash potatoes but does include the braised onions.

    This soup freezes well for a quick meal later or just refrigerate for a leftover lunch of soup and salad.

    The Senate restaurant keeps the soup pretty simple: water, beans and ham bone/meat and when the soup is done onions that have been browned in butter are added in and then the soup is seasoned with salt and pepper. While I like the simplicity of this soup, I prefer the addition of some other vegetables and the bay leaf seasoning.

    Leave a Reply