Creamy and Comforting U.S. Senate Bean Soup

January 13, 2015

A creamy, ham-studded soup is just what's needed on a cold night. Senate bean soup, a classic soup found on the menus of the U.S. Senate's restaurants, is a simple soup typically made with navy beans. In our version, we use the small, lightly green colored flageolet bean. This dense and ultra-creamy French bean is perfect for any dish, but we especially love it in a good bean soup such as this one. The beans stay whole for the most part but some will melt into creamy goodness, creating a soup that has both a velvety texture and bits to sink your teeth into. Make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for future meals. This soup only gets better and better.

Senate Bean Soup
Serves 4-6

1 pound flageolet or navy beans, soaked overnight, drained
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 stalks celery including tops, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts water
1 quart chicken stock
1 smoked ham hock
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Soak beans overnight in unsalted water.

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

Add water, chicken stock, ham hock and soaked beans and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove ham hock, let cool slightly, and then remove meat (discarding the bone, skin, and excess fat). Finely chop the meat and add back to soup. Stir in the chopped parsley.

Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.