U.S. Senate Bean Soup

What you'll need

  • 1 1/4 cups small dried white beans, such as pea or navy
  • 7 cups cold water
  • 1 small ham hock
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 medium celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

A soul-warming, rib-sticking favorite served in the U.S. Senate since 1901. Like good legislation, it requires forethought and long simmering, but swift, decisive action in the end.

  1. Soak the beans overnight.
  2. Next day, plop the beans in the pot with the ham hock and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 75 minutes to an hour, until the beans are tender.
  3. Now, prepare everything else. All the fine chopping and dicing takes some time, but you're dumping it all in at once, so just put it all in a big bowl as you go along with your mise-en-place.
  4. Dump it in the pot, simmer for a good 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and mash everything with a potato masher until it's creamy. (Probably not a good idea to use the immersion blender here, as you'd be blending up the ham hock.)
  6. Garnish with the parsley and serve. (It's pretty nice with a clean white wine.)

Submitted by: Joel

Thanks to: Joy of Cooking