I’m really trying to eat local these days. I like organic but will take local over organic. It’s tough to do a week’s shopping at the Farmer’s Market though and I really don’t feel like shopping on Saturday morning. Many years’ habit of shopping on Sundays to overcome. I tend to plan the menus, if I do, on Saturdays and shop Sundays. But I am trying!
This week I bought 2 avocados, 2 artichokes (I am growing them but mine are not producing yet), and leeks! Oh, plus these dried Italian Butter Beans from Iacopi Farms in Half Moon Bay. One year I grew some beans for dried beans and they were fun and good, but I fell out of the habit so I’m happy to see some local dried beans available. I turned these into soup with the ham bone I had from the ham I did NOT cook at Easter, when I got sick.
The recipe is basically from Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition – 2006, although I used these butter beans rather than small white beans and adapted a few other minor things. Really good! The recipe is called Senate Bean Soup and has been served at the Senate since 1901 they say. I can see why.
Senate Bean Soup
- 1 pound dried white beans soaked 6 hours or so. (Start in the morning.)
- 1 ham bone
- 7-8 cups water
- 3 stalks of celery diced
- 1 Russet potato peeled and diced
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the beans about 6 hours. These beans really swelled up, which I took as a sign that they were fresher than what I typically buy at the store! Drain the beans, then add to 7 cups of water in a stockpot or Dutch oven, along with a ham bone or a ham hock. Bring to a simmer, partially cover, and cook until the beans are tender, 1 - 1.5 hours.
- Remove the ham bone or ham hock, cut off any meat and dice it and add it back to the beans. Discard the bone.
- Add the potato, onion, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Add more water if needed.
- Cook another 30 minutes or so until the potato is tender.
The Joy of Cooking recipe said to mash it together but I left it all whole because the beans were so beautiful! And we like beans here!
I did add another cup of water at the point I added the potato and other veggies. It just depends on how much broth you want versus stew like consistency and how much your beans absorb.
This was really good. I have often made a white bean soup with just the ham bone and onion before before and I have to say that is good too. Simple is nice. But the potato and celery add a nice touch. Forgot to take a picture but will try to remember to add it when I have leftovers for lunch!