Senate Bean Soup

I thought now would be a good time to share this recipe as most of the country is enduring the hardships of winter. Well, the Northeast is, California was 72 yesterday! Ok sorry, I don’t mean to brag. Sometimes I do miss the snow, until I have to drive in it-then I’m good without it!

Anyways, this is definitely a warm and hearty soup. I can’t take credit for finding it though. My sister visits McGuire’s Irish Pub whenever she is in Pensacola, FL and came across this yummy recipe. They sell it for 18¢ (with a meal purchase) because that is the same price they sold it for when it was served in the US Senate back in the day. She found the recipe in the McGuire’s Irish Pub cookbook that is sold in the restaurant or online.

So here’s the recipe. It is so simple to make!

  • 1 lb dried navy beans
  • 4 qt water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped, including leaves
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 16 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • One large ham bone, preferably with bits of meat on it (you can buy this for a few bucks at Honey Baked Ham-the more meat the better)
  1. The day before, rinse the beans and place them in a large bowl. Add the water and allow the beans to soak, covered, overnight.
  2. The next day, make a cheesecloth pouch containing the bay leaf and cloves. Drain the beans and place them in a large stockpot with the ham bone. Add cold water to cover plus 2″, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Add the spice pouch, onions, celery, carrots, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the meat is falling off the bone, about 3 hours. (You may have to add more water throughout the day as it reduces.)
  4. Remove the spice pouch and the bone. Shred the meat from the bone and add it to the soup before serving.  Serves 6-8. Enjoy!

*If you haven’t made a ham recently (to give you a leftover bone), ask your butcher to save one for you. In the future, freeze ham and beef bones for soups and stocks.



  • Susie R. - I was supposed to get this recipe from your sister, but I think she forgot;) glad you posted it!ReplyCancel

    • elil72 - When I asked her about it she said she posted it on her blog a loooong time ago. So glad I could help ya out!ReplyCancel

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