Knute Nelson (circa 1882), inventor of Senate Bean Soup.
I frequently traveled to Washington, DC before I retired and, if it was between October and the 1st of April, I would always stop by the Holiday Inn right behind the US Capitol building and have a bowl of Senate Bean Soup.
There are two versions of the soup available--one with potatoes, and one without--but the one I use at home (no potatoes) was the recipe provided by a kinsman, Knute Nelson, who served as Minnesota's Senator in 1902. Here's Knute's recipe:
2 pounds dried navy beans
4 quarts hot water
1 ½ pounds of ham hocks
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon salt (or to taste
½ tablespoon pepper (or to taste)
I use a crock pot at home (I'll get to that in a minute), but the "official" recipe calls for bringing the water to a boil, then add the beans and ham hocks and simmer for 3 hours. At the 3 hour mark, remove the ham hocks, cool, cut the meat from the bone and return to the soup. Brown the onion in the butter, add the salt and pepper, and then put the mixture into the soup. Bring the soup to a boil for a minute and then satisfy about 8 hearty appetites.
If you use a crock pot soak the beans in cold water overnight, then after rinsing, put the beans and water in the pot on high for about an hour. At the 1 hour mark, drop the temperature to low and add about ¾ pouds of chopped ham and the onion; cook for several hours until it "looks like soup." Skip the butter, of course, and salt and pepper to taste.
Both methods of cooking yield a tasty, satisfying fall meal. Isn't it good to know that at least one really good thing has come out of the Senate? Enjoy!