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Ham and Bean Soup

December 9, 2016

I’ve made Ham and Bean soup for years, but Jack pulled a recipe off the computer to try since it was for a pressure cooker. I grew up using a pressure cooker often, but got away from it soon after I married. Don’t really know why; maybe the crock pot took over. The recipe was for plain bean soup, but I added the ham and vegetables like we like it. No, let me clarify – the men in this household like ham, beans and potatoes, onions are okay but not required. Me, I like some diced carrots. They’ll eat it, grumbling the whole time about stupid vegetables. This is the way I’ll make ham and bean soup every time. I loved how easy and quick it was. The creamy broth was perfect. The olive oil was something I’d never used in soup before. Maybe that’s what made the broth turn creamy? Tonight we’re trying a new chicken recipe. For the soup yesterday everyone pitched in to help make it. What are my chances I’ll get help again? ~ Connie

ham, bone in (I’ve used left-over ham steaks with good results)
1 cup dried Navy beans (I used a whole 1 lb. bag and added a little extra water)
1 tsp olive oil
1 bay leaf  (The bay leaf disappeared, but I didn’t hear a Yuck! from anyone so who knows where it went.)
6 cups water
salt & pepper to taste

diced carrots
diced onion
potatoes, cut up (I’ll leave the amount of each vegetable up to you. My husband loves a lot of potatoes!)

Cook ham (I usually make this soup after having a ham for dinner. Then all I need to do is cut it up for soup.)
Add beans and the next 4 ingredients to pressure cooker
Close lid securely; bring to high pressure over high heat.
Adjust heat to medium or level needed to maintain pressure
Cook 25-30 minutes
After cooling, remove lid and add vegetables – You may need to add a little more water with the vegetables.
Pressure cook 10-15 minutes; cool & serve

  1. My mom used a pressure cooker often, but I never have. I might for ham and bean soup–a favorite.

  2. I always use a copy of the U. S. Capitol cafeteria version.

    • Do you plan to share that recipe? I love this one, but I’m willing to try another one.

      • I had to look it up again…

        Senate Bean Soup

        Senate restaurant staff preparing bean soup

        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. Both Senate recipes are below.

        The Famous Senate Restaurant Bean Soup Recipe

        2 pounds dried navy beans

        four quarts hot water

        1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks

        1 onion, chopped

        2 tablespoons butter

        salt and pepper to taste

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

        Bean Soup Recipe (for five gallons)

        3 pounds dried navy beans

        2 pounds of ham and a ham bone

        1 quart mashed potatoes

        5 onions, chopped

        2 stalks of celery, chopped

        four cloves garlic, chopped

        half a bunch of parsley, chopped

        Clean the beans, then cook them dry. Add ham, bone and water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and mix thoroughly. Add chopped vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer for one hour before serving.

  3. Thank you. I hope it wasn’t too much trouble to find. The first recipe seems more like what I grew up with. My husband loved potatoes with his so that’s the way I’ve made it ever since. We’re having a ham roast for Christmas so my family is expecting ham and bean soup again.

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