Senate bean soup

A bowl of the famous Senate bean soup served in the Dirksen Building, September 2014.

Senate bean soup is another bean dish we do regularly around here as part of our Dead Cheap Meals.

As with most of my bean soups, ham broth is preferred, though beef broth, chicken broth or my mock broth would work.

You also need a small amount of ham as per my method of processing a half ham or just some leftover ham.

Senate Bean Soup

Category: breakfast
Cooking Method: pressure cooker
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: 2 quarts


Winter Soups ebook
More soup recipes in our Winter Soups ebook by Community Cookbooks


  1. Place navy beans, vinegar and salt in large bowl. Cover with 2 quarts of water; cover and soak for 12-24 hours to reduce phytates. Drain and rinse beans.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in bottom of pressure cooker and fry onion until browned.
  3. Add beans, broth and ham. If you have very hard water, add a pinch of baking soda.
  4. Bring to pressure and cook 40 minutes, then turn off heat and place under cold water in sink until pressure drops.
  5. Remove lid and stir in olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and optional supplements.

Image credit: Adapted from Senate bean soup by Bellczar (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikipedia.