US Senate Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker

It is cold outside (and inside my 130 year old house). That means it is time for making soup. Here is my take on the famous US Senate Bean Soup recipe. I add carrots and a bit of chicken stock for more flavor. Also, if you have the celery leaves at the top of your celery stalks, toss those in and fish them out when you remove the bay leaves. It gives an extra hit of flavor without adding another stalk.

bean-soup-and-cornbread

US Senate Bean Soup in the Slow Cooker

1 lb dried navy or great northern beans
1 large ham bone, preferably with bits of meat left on it
1 onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks of celery, roughly chopped (about 1/2 cup)
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
1  1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the beans and place in a large bowl.  Add water to cover by at least an inch and let the beans soak overnight.

In a medium sized skillet, sauté the onion in bacon fat or butter until softened. Toss in the chopped celery and carrots and just heat through. Place the veggies into your slow cooker.

Drain the beans and place them in the crockpot along with the ham bone. Pour in the chicken stock and water and stir well. Place your slow cooker on high. Once the contents come to a boil, add salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and the meat is falling off the bone, about 4 hours. Remove the bay leaves and the bone.  Shred the meat and add it back to the soup before serving.

I serve the soup with cornbread. It warms the kitchen and my heart as it is my mom’s recipe. She had no recipe, so when she taught me to make it, I had to continually stop her and measure out her smidges, dashes and dollops.

Oh, and something I learned. Because of holiday baking, I was short on baking powder. You can substitute 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tarter for 1 teaspoon of baking powder.

Mama's Cornbread

Mama’s Cornbread

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup corn meal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten into 1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of Crisco vegetable shortening

8”cast iron skillet

Preheat oven to 425 F with the skillet in the oven, melting the Crisco. Mix all other ingredients in a large bowl. Pour in a portion of the melted shortening until it is a loose but not runny consistency. Pour the mixture into the skillet, over the remaining shortening.

Cook for 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

For added corn flavor, replace 1/4 cup of the all purpose flour with corn flour.

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