I love Rancho Gordo. What’s more, I love their Heirloom Beans cookbook. Recipes are generally easy to prepare, with not too many ingredients, and more importantly spot on tasty. The folks at Ranch Gordo sell an impressive variety of beans that are fresher than the average grocery store stock. I keep a broad selection in my pantry and cook about a pot a week, storing the leftovers in the freezer for a quick midweek meal. Just defrost the beans and whip up a crisp salad. Voila!
This Senate Bean Soup recipe is one of our favorites and one of the easiest. With a simple flavor profile of bay leaf, onion, garlic and celery it has everything you need and nothing you don’t. Of course, a ham shank makes almost any pot of beans better.
Based on the recipe Senate Bean Soup from Heirloom Beans by Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington at Rancho Gordo
1 pound yellow eye beans, soaked overnight and drained
1 ham shank, a meaty ham hock will also work
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, chopped
8 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the beans, ham shank and bay leaf in a Dutch oven or stock pot. Fill the pot with water to about 2 inches above the level of the beans. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a soft simmer. Cook until the beans start to soften, about 1 hour. Add the onion, celery, garlic, and parsley and continue to cook until the beans are soft, about another hour. Remove the ham shank and shred the meat with a fork. Discard the bone and return the meat to the pot, add more water if you want a thinner soup and correct the seasoning. Serve with a crisp salad and crusty bread.