According to one story, the Senate’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.
Which story is true? Quite frankly......who the heck cares! All I know is that since I made and tried this soup about five years ago (saw Paula Deen make it on her show.....love Paula!) it has become one of my families favourite soups. It's rustically simple and satisfying. Add a piece of crusty bread slathered in butter, yes I said butter, and your all set.
Senate Bean Soup
2 lbs. navy beans
4 quarts water
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
2-3 pork hocks or a leftover ham bone
leftover ham, if using ham bone
2 carrots, diced (optional)
Rinse beans in hot water until they turn white. Put in large pot with pork hocks or ham bone and the 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 3 hour.
Saute onions and carrots in butter.
Remove pork hocks or ham bone and set aside to cool. Remove 2 cups of the beans, puree and return to pot with sauteed onions and carrots.
Remove meat from bones and add to pot along with chopped leftover ham if using leftovers. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Note: I add 2 chicken bullion cubes for added flavour. I freeze the leftovers in single serving containers so I can enjoy it anytime!