Here is another Great Northern Bean recipe. It is very basic, so anything you feel like adding will most likely work out just fine. Using smoked turkey instead of the ham is an option. Using broth instead of water will make for a richer stock. My comments and any changes to the original recipe are in red italics.
The origin of this famous soup is unknown. There are two stories about the first request of this soup in the Senate. Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho and Senator Knute Nelson of Minnesota are both linked to the first request to serve the soup. The Dubois version has mashed potatoes added as a thickener. The recipe served in the Senate today does not include mashed potatoes.
Everyone claims to have a recipe for “Senate Bean Soup”. This one is from the famous Belgian cook Jean Debruyn and is prepared every day in the U.S Senate Restaurant. About 4 servings.
SENATE BEAN SOUP
2 cups dried Great Northern (or Navy) beans, pre-soaked in water overnight, then drained.
¼ cup butter (or 1/8 cup of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil) I use much less butter than this.
1 teaspoon summer savory (optional)
1 teaspoon epazote (optional)