The soup was surprisingly good--though like the Senate, it does tend to produce a lot of gas.
SENATE BEAN SOUP
1 pound dried Great Northern beans
2 smoked ham hocks (or 1 meaty ham bone)
4 medium onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
6 celery ribs, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
5 medium red potatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste (the ham hocks provided plenty of salt)
Minced parsley or chives for garnish
Rinse beans. Put in large kettle, add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and boil two minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 3 or 4 hours till beans are softened.
Drain and rinse, discarding liquid. In large kettle, put beans, ham hocks (or bone,) and 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 hours.
Skim fat if needed. Add onions, garlic, celery, parsley, potatoes, and simmer 1 hour.
Remove hocks or bone and let cool till you can handle them. Remove the meat, discard the fat and bones. cut meat into bite size pieces and return to soup. Taste and decide if you want salt and/or pepper.
Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley of chives.