Here is a recipe that is a traditional American side dish, entree or for lunch on a cool fall day or cold winter day. Senate Navy Bean Soup has been served in the US Capitol cafeteria for more than 100 years, there being a debate as to its origin.
Senate Navy Bean Soup
[Serves 6 to 8]
Use whole cloves or your soup will turn a weird gray color if you use ground cloves. The texture should be creamy, but not thick.
Sea salt and black pepper
1 pound (2-1/2 cups) navy beans, picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 onion, chopped fine
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 whole cloves
2 (12-ounce) smoked ham hocks
8 ounces russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Dissolve 3 tablespoons sea salt in 4 quarts cold water in large container. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours, up to 24 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer onion mixture to bowl.
- Insert cloves into skin of 1 ham hock. Add 8 cups water, ham hocks, and beans to now-empty pot and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered with lid slightly ajar, until beans are tender, 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir potatoes and onion mixture into soup and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 10 to 15 minutes; remove pot from heat. Transfer ham hocks to cutting board and let cool slightly. Discard cloves, then shred meat, discarding bones and skin.
- Using potato masher, gently mash beans and potatoes until soup is creamy and lightly thickened, 8 to 10 strokes. Add ½ teaspoon black pepper and shredded meat and return to simmer over medium heat. Stir in vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.