Senate Navy Bean Soup

Total Time
Prep 1 hr
Cook 4 hrs

I can't read my handwritten recipe card that this was written on because of all the spills that landed on it whilst making this delicious, comforting soup. I clipped this from a newspaper (or magazine?) years ago and my husband has since taken over the task of making this soup from any hambone that he can acquire. I do hope you enjoy this as much as we do. :)

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Wash beans, drain then soak in large pot.
  2. For quick soak method combine beans & 6 cups water. Heat to boiling; boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover, let stand 1 hour OR.
  3. Soak beans overnight.
  4. In large frypan melt butter, saute celery, onion and garlic until tender.
  5. Drain beans, reserve liquid.
  6. Into saucepan add beans, reserved liquid and enough water to make 10 cups, ham bone or hock, salt and pepper plus saute veggies from frypan.
  7. Heat to boiling, reduce to low.
  8. Cover and simmer 3 hours or until beans are tender and soup thickens.
  9. Remove meat from bone and add to soup.
  10. Remove a cup or two of beans, mash and return to make a thicker soup if desired.
Most Helpful

Your recipe was great! There are not too many soups would I gladly walk a mile and a half through snow up to my knees back and forth from school just for lunch. With warm cornbread OMG <br/>I did add butter and a little half and half (I remember my mom doing that) - my own changes were a jalapeno and some carrots. Thank you for the memories.

tuxman_ November 13, 2013

I find this to be very bland, so after soup is done cooking, I add a good sized tablespoon "Better Than Bouillon" (chicken) and stir well. The flavor jumps right out at you and we all love it. The "Better Than Bouillon" is a paste; if you use cubes you'd need to use four. Also, if you soak beans for 24 hours you can cut cook time down to 2 hours.

sshazri September 18, 2009

My family has been making this recipe nearly as long as the U.S. Senate Dining Room! My 93 y.o. mother remembers eating it as a small child, and believes that her mother had been eating it for years, before then. Mom's recipe does not differ in any substantial way from what is presented here. My own recipe differs in one small detail; while nearly every recipe warns never to add salt until the beans are fully cooked, I add salt to the soaking water initially added to the dried beans at the recommendation of America's Test Kitchen. They found that rather than making the beans "tough" it allows the beans to cook up soft on the inside without the skins sloughing off or turning to mush. It works, so I do it. Our family's serving method is to slice a square of cornbread in half, butter both halves generously, and ladle the beans over them. Get beans and cornbread in every bite. My mother likes to sprinkle diced raw onion over her beans. I like a splash of hot sauce on mine.

richshewmaker_11715808 July 26, 2016