Talk about down-sizing a recipe! The famous Senate Bean Soup has two official versions: one makes five gallons while the other only serves eight. In my version of this legislative legacy I've scaled it down to not two servings, but four. Like many such dishes, it's actually better on day two than day one so you want to have leftovers because they're better than the first-overs.
To tell the truth, though, I usually make twice as much as the recipe and freeze half the soup to eat later. With soup this good, you might as well save yourself the trouble of having to make it twice. (Larger image.) Serves 2 with leftovers.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours, 45 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours
- 1/2 lb. dried cannellini, Great Northern, or navy beans
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 2 sm. (2" diameter) onions
- 1 stalk celery, broken in thirds
- 2 tsp. dried sage
- 1/2 Tbsp. cracked black pepper
- 1 med. russet (or other waxy) potato, cut into 1/2" cubes
- 4 oz. country ham
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Slice through the skin on a smoked ham hock in several places; this makes it easier for the hock to contribute flavor and to recover the meat at the end of cooking. Quarter and peel one of the onions.
2. Place beans, ham hock, celery stalk, quartered onion, salt, sage, and cracked pepper in a large sauce pan and add enough water to come one inch below the rim. Over high heat, bring just to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 3 hours. Checking on occasion to make sure there's plenty of liquid in the pot.
3. In the meantime, halve, peel and coarsely chop the remaining onion as well as the country ham. Cook onions an ham in a skillet over medium heat with a bit of oil or butter until the onions are translucent. Reserve.
4. When the beans have cooked for three hours, remove and discard the onion quarters, celery, and parsley. Extract whatever meat you can from the hock and add back to the pot. Add the diced onions, ham, and potatoes. Adjust liquid, and continue to simmer for 30 - 40 minutes until potatoes are done. Taste and adjust seasonings and serve.
Note: If you follow my lead, double the recipe, and freeze half, then you should thaw the frozen portion overnight in the fridge and reheat in the microwave at high power for two minutes, stir, and heat at high for another two minutes.