Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's Soup Weather

Senate White Bean Soup.

Fall brings these cool, cloudy days like the one we are having today.  That just reminds me that it's time to make some soup.  Senate Bean Soup is a favorite at our house and that's what I made today. This soup dates back to the early 20th century according to Wikipedia. "U.S. Senate Bean Soup or simply Senate bean soup is a soup made with navy beans, ham hocks, and sometimes mashed potatoes. It is served in the dining room of the United States Senate every day, in a tradition that dates to the early 20th century". (Well, I wonder if it is served during the government shutdown.  Are the cooks on furlough????)

I use a slightly different recipe omitting the mashed potatoes and adding carrots, celery, a potato, onions and garlic.  

Senate Bean Soup
Serves 4 to 6

1 pound dried small white beans, rinsed and picked over for stones
12 cups water
1 ham hock
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup shopped carrot
1 potato, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Soak beans in a large bowl.  Cover beans with water and soak for 8-10 hours (overnight) and drain.

Alternatively, place beans in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and tightly cover pan with plastic wrap. Let beans sit for an hour.
Beans and ham hock in Dutch oven.
Stir in 12 cups of water.

In a large heavy pot, combine beans with ham hock, bay leaf (I didn't have a bay leaf today, but I usually do have.) and 12 cups of water. Bring to boil and reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour or until beans are just tender.
Add onions and garlic.
Add potato, celery, and carrots.

Stir in onion, celery, carrot, potato and garlic. Simmer for another hour or until soup is
very  thick. Remove ham hock and strip meat from bone, discarding the rind and fat. I usually puree about 2 cups of the soup and add it back to the pot.  Stir meat into soup and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley (Optional)  Serve hot.  
Ready to eat on a cool, cloudy, rainy day.

This soup is perfect for a cloudy and chilly day like today.  And it freezes well. We enjoyed this for supper tonight, and  I have enough for a couple more meals. 

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