Navy Bean Soup (aka Senate Bean Soup)


Late last week, I still had a large portion of ham left from Easter lunch. Around here that usually means one (very delicious) thing: some homemade Ham and Beans. Check out this take on one of our most traditional and economical soup recipes.

There are multiple stories as to where Senate Bean Soup got it’s name. Some say the tradition began early in the 20th-century at the request of Idahoan Senator Fred Dubois.  Others argue it originated with Senator Knute Nelson (MN), who expressed his fondness for the soup in 1903. Either way, the soup has and always will be a daily fixture on the Senate Restaurant menu.

This recipe is adapted from one I found in the great bean cookbook from Rancho Gordo. Essentially, the recipe follows the traditional way to cook ham with beans and therefor has become a staple at post-Easter dinner tables. (Here, here, and here for just a few other recent examples).

What you need:


1-Package Hurst’s® HamBeens® Navy Bean Soup


1-lbs. Diced Ham

1- Cup Diced Onion

1- Cup Diced Celery

2-3 Cloves Minced Garlic

1/4 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley

1-2 Bay Leaves

Salt and Pepper to taste

*Optional (but highly recommended)

Jalapeno Corn Bread


1. Rinse the dried Navy beans under cold water. Check for any debris or stones that may be present and discard.


2. Prepare the vegetables. Cut the onion and celery into 1/4″ pieces and give the parsley a rough chop. Crush the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and discard the peel.


3. Coat the bottom of a large soup pot with olive oil. Over med-high heat, sauté the onion and celery until they become slightly translucent. Add the diced ham and sauté for another 4-5 minutes. Add the crushed garlic during the last 2-3 minutes.


4. Add 8 cups of water, rinsed beans, and bay leaf. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, then reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 2 hours.


5. After 2 hours, the beans should be almost cooked through (if not, continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes). Remove the lid and stir in Hurst’s bean soup seasoning packet and the fresh parsley. Simmer for an additional 1/2 hour and add salt and pepper to taste.


6. Serve hot, garnished with a sprig of parsley and some warm corn bread (go ahead and dunk!).

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8 Responses to Navy Bean Soup (aka Senate Bean Soup)

  1. enjoy your soup, it looks delicious. i will have to try your recipe out. i love the step-by-step photo instructions.

  2. Rico says:

    sounds to me like the Navy eats very good beans soup. 🙂


    • hurstbeans says:

      Good call! I’d bet some of those Navy cooks can make a mean ham and bean soup!

      • Unknown Critic says:

        It does look good. But take my word for it, if a Navy cook made it, it would not be that good. I speak from experience as an ex-Sailor. Navy cooks have to follow a recipe card down to the letter, no variation. And the recipe cards are made up by people who obviously never eat it themselves because the dishes are usually bland and tasteless, no imagination whatsoever.

        Sorry for the rant, but I had to set the record straight.

        Any ex-Navy out there want to add to this?

  3. s. stockwell says:

    This soup goes way, way back…everyone ends up with ham and needs a way to cook it up? We loved this one. Best from Santa Barbara, s

  4. Tapas Tutor says:

    Looks good! I would like that for lunch today.

  5. winteridge says:

    I love your presentation. Will have to give it a try. Any idea what is in the Hurst seasoning mix? You may like my Amish recipe @ Enjoy.

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