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.

  • Senate Bean Soup by the United States Senate, public domain government resource—original source of recipe
  • Serves: 8



  1. Wash the navy beans and run hot water through them until they are slightly whitened.
  2. Place beans into pot with hot water.
  3. Add ham hocks and simmer approximately three hours in a covered pot, stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove ham hocks and set aside to cool.
  5. Dice meat and return to soup.
  6. Lightly brown the onion in butter.
  7. Add to soup.
  8. Before serving, bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper.
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