Bean soup is mandated to appear on the Senate menu every day, according to the United States Senate. According to different versions of the story, this began as a request of Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho or Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota in the early 20th century.
The Senate Bean Soup recipe served today includes dried navy beans, smoked ham hocks, onion, butter and salt and pepper. To prepare it, 2 pounds of dried beans are rinsed, then cooked in hot water with 1 1/2 pounds of ham hocks. Once the ham is cooked, remove from pot, dice the meat and place it back in the soup. Brown 1 onion in 2 tablespoons of butter, then add to soup. Bring the soup to a boil and add salt and pepper to taste.
The original version of Senate Bean Soup attributed to Senator Dubois varies slightly from the recipe that is served today. In his version, mashed potatoes, garlic, celery, chopped onions and parsley are added to the bean soup, and the braised onion is omitted.
The Senate Dining Area is only open to senators, staff members and their guests, but there are several other dining venues in the Senate buildings that are open to the public.