McGuire’s Irish Pub Senate Bean Soup is a delicious and satisfying meal that’s easy to make at home. This inexpensive copycat recipe is packed with nutrition and flavor.
Get ready to impress your friends and family with this wonderful homemade soup. It’s friendly on the wallet and the taste buds. And if you ever find yourself in Pensacola or Destin, FL, be sure to stop by McGuire’s Irish Pub and try it there!
Story of the McGuire’s Senate bean soup recipe
The story behind the navy bean soup dates back to the 1920s. Padraig McGraith, an Irish immigrant from County Claire, worked as a dishwasher in the U.S. Senate cafeteria. He missed the hearty soups and stews of home and needed to stretch his grocery budget.
When the Senate kitchen chefs were in need of a recipe for a genuine and satisfying soup, Paddy rose to the challenge and concocted a recipe using the ingredients he had available. The soup was an instant success, and Paddy earned a mere 18 cents per day at that time.
Since McGuire’s first opened in 1977, the price of this scrumptious soup has remained unchanged. To this day, you can still enjoy this delightful dish at a reasonable price.
Ingredients for McGuire’s Senate navy bean soup
To make McGuire’s Senate Bean hearty soup, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Dried navy beans: These beans are the base of the soup and provide a hearty texture.
- Water: This is used to soak the beans and cook the soup.
- Bay leaf: This adds a subtle flavor to the soup.
- Whole cloves: These add a warm and sweet flavor to the soup.
- Ham bone: For a richer taste.
- Onion: This adds a savory flavor to the soup.
- Celery: This adds a fresh and slightly bitter flavor to the soup.
- Carrots: These add a sweet flavor to the soup. Use large carrots.
- Salt: Salt brings up flavors.
- Freshly ground black pepper: This adds a spicy kick to the soup.
- Parsley (optional)
- Garlic (optional): adds a pungent and slightly sweet flavor.
Equipment to cook McGuire’s Bean Soup
- Large pot for cooking the soup
- Large bowl for soaking the beans
- Strainer for draining the beans
- Cutting board and kitchen knife for chopping vegetables
- Cheesecloth for making the pouch for bay leaf and cloves
How to make McGuire’s Senate Bean Soup
This is one of the simple soup recipes:
- Soak the beans: Rinse 1 pound of dried navy beans, discarding any dark-colored beans. Put the beans in a large bowl or a large stockpot. Add 4 pints of cold water. Let the beans soak overnight, covered.
- Drain the beans: After soaking, drain the beans using a strainer.
- Prepare the vegetables: Peel and chop the carrots, onion, and celery.
- Prepare the pot: Place the drained beans in a large pot with a large ham bone, preferably with bits of meat left on it. Add water so that it is about 2 inches above the ingredients.
- Make a spice cheesecloth pouch: Take a piece of cheesecloth and place 1 bay leaf and 3 whole cloves in the center. Bring the four corners together and wrap kitchen twine around the corners to create a pouch.
- Add everything to the pot: Add the spice pouch, onion, celery, carrots, salt, and fresh ground pepper..
- Bring to a boil: Use medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover the . Leave the lid ajar. Stir occasionally.
- Cook soup: The beans must become tender. The meat should start falling off the bone. That usually takes about 3 hours.
- Remove pouch and bone: Remove the pouch and ham bone. If you like a creamier soup, use an immersion blender or potato masher to blend to smoother consistency.
- Add meat back to soup: Cut the meat into small pieces and add it back to the soup.
- Serve: Serve with chopped fresh parsley on top (optional).
How can I make the McGuire’s Senate Bean great soup even better?
For a creamier soup, use an immersion blender or potato masher to blend some of the beans before serving.
If you have trouble getting the beans to soften, try adding a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water. This can help break down the tough skins of the beans and make them more tender.
What if I don’t have or like some if the ingredients?
You can experiment with variations or substitutions for ingredients.
- Canned beans: If you’re short on time, you can use canned beans instead of dried beans. Just rinse them well before using.
- Smoked ham hock: Smoked ham hocks have a similar smoky flavor to a ham bone and can be used as a substitute. They are usually smaller than a ham bone, so you may want to use more than one.
- Smoked turkey leg: A smoked turkey leg can also be used as a substitute for the ham bone. It will add a rich and smoky flavor to the soup.
- Bacon or pancetta: You can also use bacon or pancetta to add a smoky and savory flavor. Cut it into small pieces and cook it in the pot before adding the other ingredients.
- Corned beef or sausage: try it out instead of a ham bone. You can use cooked and sliced sausage like kielbasa or andouille. It adds a spicy flavor to the soup.
- Vegetable broth: If you want to make a vegetarian version of this soup, you can use vegetable broth instead of the ham bone. You may need to add additional seasonings such as smoked paprika or liquid smoke to add a smoky flavor to the soup. You might like to add additional vegetables such as potatoes or mushrooms.
- Garlic: Add garlic or other herbs and spices to enhance the flavor.
- Onions: Yellow onions are a classic choice for this recipe, with their strong and pungent flavor. You can also experiment with other types of onions to alter the taste of the soup. red onions have a mild and sweet flavor that can add a different dimension to the dish. Don’t be afraid to try different varieties to find the flavor that you like best.
What to serve with a bean soup?
Bean soup is a hearty and satisfying meal on its own, but it can also be served with a crusty loaf of fresh bread for an extra treat. You can use bread to soak up the flavorful broth. You can also spread the bread with butter for an added touch of richness. A rye bread or a french bread will work.
No matter what type of bread you choose to serve with McGuire’s Senate Bean Soup, you’re sure to have a delicious and satisfying meal.
A funny note: If you’re ever feeling short on cash, just head to McGuire’s Irish Pub and order a bowl of Senate Bean Soup. With over a million signed dollar bills hanging from the ceilings and walls, you’ll feel like a million bucks in no time!
Can I freeze bean soup?
Yes, this soup freezes well. It is important to let it cool down before you pour it in a container. Frozen will last about 3 months.
McGuire’s Senate Bean Soup
- 1 large pot
- 1 large bowl
- 1 strainer
- 1 cutting board
- 1 kitchen knife
- 1 cheesecloth
- 1 lb dried navy beans
- 4 pints water
- 1 pcs bay leaf
- 1 pcs ham bone large
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 pcs celery including leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 pcs carrots large
- 3 pcs whole cloves
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 16 turns black pepper freshly ground
- Rinse 1 pound of dried navy beans, discarding any dark-colored beans. Put the beans in a large bowl or a large stockpot. Add 4 pints of cold water. Let the beans soak overnight, covered.
- After soaking, drain the beans using a strainer.
- Peel and chop the carrots, onion, and celery.
- Place the drained beans in a large pot with a large ham bone, preferably with bits of meat left on it. Add water so that it is about 2 inches above the ingredients.
- Take a piece of cheesecloth and place 1 bay leaf and 3 whole cloves in the center. Bring the four corners together and wrap kitchen twine around the corners to create a pouch.
- Add the spice pouch, onion, celery, carrots, salt, and fresh ground pepper to the pot.
- Boil using medium-high heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover the. Leave the lid ajar. Stir occasionally.
- The beans must become tender. The meat should start falling off the bone. That usually takes about 3 hours.
- Cut the meat into small pieces and add it back to the soup.
- Serve with chopped fresh parsley on top (optional).
- If you want a creamier soup, blend some of the beans before serving.
- If you have trouble getting the beans to soften, add a pinch of baking soda to the cooking water.
- You can experiment with variations or substitutions for ingredients such as canned beans, smoked ham hocks, smoked turkey leg, bacon, pancetta, corned beef, sausage, or even vegetable broth for a vegetarian version.
- For extra flavor, add garlic or different types of onions.
- This soup can be frozen. Let it cool down before freezing and it will last about 3 months.
- You can make this soup in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. In a slow cooker, cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. In an Instant Pot, use the “Soup” setting.
- Serve this hearty soup with a crusty loaf of fresh bread. Rye bread or French bread works great.
- Remember, navy beans, also known as haricot beans, pea beans, or Boston beans, got their name as they were a staple food of the U.S. Navy in the early 20th century.