From Celeste Dolan
[Quoth Celeste, from the U.S. Senate website: “Bean soup is on the menu in the Senate’s restaurant every day. There are several stories about the origin of that mandate, but none has been corroborated. 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.
“The recipe attributed to Dubois includes mashed potatoes and makes a 5-gallon batch. The recipe served in the Senate today does not include mashed potatoes, but does include a braised onion.”]
The Famous Senate Restaurant Bean Soup Recipe
2 pounds dried navy beans
four quarts quarts
1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks or ham bone with some meat on it
1 onion, chopped
1-2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
salt and pepper to taste
Wash the navy beans and soak for 8 hours.
Fill pot with 4 quarts water and add ham hocks or ham bone. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Continue to simmer for 1 1/4-1 1/2 hours. Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool. Dice meat and return to soup and add beans. Stirring ocassionaly, cook beans until tender. Reduce heat to low.
In saute pan, melt butter. Add onions and saute until transparent. Add carrots and celery and saute until vegetables are slightly caramelized. Add vegetable melange to soup. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Optional: Puree 1/2 of soup and strain it through fine mesh strainer. Add strained mixture back to soup pot. Serve warm.