Friday, November 12, 2010
SENATE BEAN SOUP
1 lb dried navy beans
1 lb ham (preferably with bone)
1 large russet potato, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
freshly ground pepper
Put the beans in a large bowl and cover with about 3 times their volume of cold water. Soak overnight in a cool place.
Drain the beans and transfer to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 10 cups of water and the ham. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to low and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour, 30 minutes. Transfer the ham to a plate to cool slightly, then remove the bone and dice the meat. Return the meat to the pot.
Meanwhile, cover the potato with water and season with salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potato, transfer to a bowl with the milk, and mash. Add the mashed potato to the bean soup and stir until combined.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and parsley and cook until translucent, 7 - 10 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture to the soup, reduce the heat to low, and cook 1 hour, adding up to 2 cups more water if the soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper.
This is one item that Democrats and Republicans are sure to agree on. The soup, while not as thick as many bean soups, was quite filling. The sauteed vegetables really added flavor and very little salt is needed because of the ham. We enjoyed the soup for dinner with a simple cheese panini. Leftovers made a hearty lunch with a few slices of rye crisp and some soft cheese.