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U.S. Senate Bean Soup Recipe

U.S. Senate Bean Soup Recipe

Chock-full of ham, beans and celery, this hearty soup makes a wonderful meal at any time of year. Freeze the bone from a holiday ham until you're ready to make soup. Plus, once prepared, it freezes well for a great make-ahead supper! —Rosemarie Forcum White Stone, Virginia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + standing Cook: 3-3/4 hours + cooling YIELD:8-10 servings


  • 1 pound dried great northern beans
  • 1 meaty ham bone or 2 smoked ham hocks
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes or 1/3 cup instant potato flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Minced parsley or chives


  • 1. Rinse and sort beans. Place beans in a Dutch oven or soup kettle; add water to cover by 2 in. Bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and let stand for 1 to 4 hours or until beans are softened.
  • 2. Drain and rinse, discarding liquid. In a large Dutch oven or soup kettle, place the beans, ham bone or hocks and 3 quarts water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours.
  • 3. Skim fat if necessary. Add the onions, garlic, celery, parsley, potatoes, salt and pepper; simmer 1 hour longer.
  • 4. Set aside ham bones until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into bite-size pieces and return to Dutch oven. Heat through. Sprinkle with parsley or chives. Yield: 8-10 servings (2-1/2 quarts).

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 cup) equals 229 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 12 mg cholesterol, 83 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 10 g fiber, 14 g protein.

Reviews for U.S. Senate Bean Soup

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Reviewed Nov. 15, 2014

"Have been making this very delicious soup for years, only difference I add 2 diced carrots and one diced potato & add 1/3 cup potato flakes in the last hour. (Also can use 1 cup left over mashed potatoes). Freezes well and makes about 3 to 4 quarts."

Reviewed Jan. 10, 2014

"We've made this many times, and it goes well with a nice salad and muffins or rolls."

Reviewed Dec. 26, 2013

"I've made this for years. I add diced potatoes and carrots in addition to the onions and celery. This is a wonderful comfort food soup. Homemade bread, something for dessert and you have a fabulous meal."

Reviewed Apr. 1, 2013

"I use chicken stock for the water, add carrots, and use 5 cans of beans! delicious! have made this so many times!"

Reviewed Jan. 31, 2012

"A wonderful bean soup recipe. Made it the other day and will be a family favorite now. Followed the recipe as given, except left out the parsley. Thank you T of H!"

Reviewed Dec. 28, 2011

"We have used this recipe for years. It is our New Year's Day tradition...with a pan of cornbread.

We use 1 cup each of diced onion, carrots & celery. Sometimes we use diced ham for a less fat content."

Reviewed Dec. 16, 2011

"SweetPea here again-to be more specific-I used two 48 oz.jars of Randall Deluxe Great Northern Beans, a 5 quart crockpot, and I did NOT use the potatoes or flakes-adding the 2 cups of chicken broth didn't dilute it much-it was still thick and wonderfully filling-not to mention it makes the house smell wonderful!"

Reviewed Sep. 26, 2011

"This was the best bean soup I had ever tasted, but let me in on how I altered it! First, I used two large jars of Great Northern Beans that were already prepared and poured them over a smoked ham roast, juice and all, in a huge crockpot. Then I added some celery and onions that I had frozen. Added some garlic powder and brown sugar on top. Last minute extra guests caused me to add 2 cups of chicken broth towards the end to make it go further, but they didn't show...but it didn't matter-there wasn't any leftover! Served with three loaves of French Bread-this all served five adults and two children with two bowls a piece. Definitely a "make again"! Cooked on low for over 7 hours and then turned it to Keep Warm until time for dinner."

Reviewed Mar. 16, 2011

"I double the beans and skipped cooking the ham with bone to putting leftover ham (cut up) in the soup. I freeze some individual servings to take for my lunch to work. It reminds me of my Father's boiled dinner which seemed like soup with huge chunks."

Reviewed Apr. 29, 2010

"A very satisfying soup with great flavor, my small group loved it."

Reviewed Oct. 5, 2009

"Well, I thought it was pretty good! But then, I don't eat a lot of spices - if you do, you won't like recipes like this which rely on subtler flavors. I think using real mashed potatoes makes it better, though, so save those leftovers. I also added sliced carrots. The next time I make this soup, I'm going to try following the "tip" given on pg 34 of the 1994 annual - brown the veggies in hot butter or oil with 1 teaspoon sugar till it carmelizes, then add to the soup"

Reviewed Oct. 4, 2008

"the best flavor for this soup is smoked ham bone!"

Reviewed Jan. 1, 2008

"I found this recipe to be very easy to follow, and the result was something very easy to throw away. I worked on this soup all day for a few minutes at a time, and was very excited about trying it, thinking that with my leftover ham bone from the Honey Baked Ham store it would be an excellent New Years Day meal. However, my husband and I each took one bite and then ran the whole thing down the disposal. I did use the potato flakes instead of mashed potatoes, but I'm not sure that would have made much of a difference. Generally, the result was very bland, not nearly enough seasoning. If I were to prepare this again (which I won't) I would substitute in some chicken broth for water and go through the spice rack and pick out a few so it tasted like something other than boiled ham, water, and onion. Good luck to anyone else who tries this recipe."

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