McGuire's Bean Soup Recipe

Discover the secret to crafting the ultimate McGuire's Senate Bean Soup! Dive into rich flavors, easy steps, and tasty tips now!

Mcguire's Bean Soup

    Mcguire's Bean Soup

  • Cuisine: American
  • Category: Soup
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 200 calories

About this recipe

McGuire's Senate Bean Soup is a hearty and flavorful dish that has its roots in American cuisine. It's often associated with the United States Senate dining room and is known for its rich, comforting taste.

To make this soup, you'll need dried navy beans, which are small white beans, and either a ham bone or ham hocks for that delicious smoky flavor. These ingredients are essential for giving the soup its signature taste.

The preparation involves soaking the dried beans to soften them, although there's a quicker method if you're short on time. Then, you simmer the beans with the ham bone or hocks, along with onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, and a bit of black pepper. This simmering process allows the flavors to meld together while the beans become tender.

As the soup cooks, you'll notice the enticing aroma filling your kitchen. It's a wonderful mix of the earthy beans and the savory, meaty scent from the ham. You'll want to keep an eye on the pot, occasionally skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.

After a couple of hours, the beans will have softened, and the ham will become tender. At this point, you remove the ham bone or hocks, shred the meat, and add it back to the pot. This step adds a delightful meatiness to the soup that pairs perfectly with the creamy beans.

To finish, you season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and then brighten it up with fresh parsley and chives. These fresh herbs provide a burst of color and freshness that balances the richness of the dish.

Once it's done, you can ladle this Senate Bean Soup into bowls and serve it piping hot. It's the kind of soup that warms you from the inside out, making it a comforting choice, especially on a chilly day.

With its deep American roots and classic flavors, McGuire's Senate Bean Soup is a dish that's as much a part of culinary history as it is a delicious meal. Enjoy it with some crusty bread, and you've got yourself a satisfying and flavorful dining experience!

Recipe origin and background

The McGuire's Bean Soup recipe is closely associated with McGuire's Irish Pub, a popular restaurant located in Pensacola, Florida. While it's not an official Senate recipe, it's inspired by the traditional Senate Bean Soup that has been served in the United States Senate dining room for many years.

The story behind the Senate Bean Soup is that it has been a staple on the Senate's menu for over a century. It's said to have originated in the early 20th century, with some versions of the story attributing it to Senator Fred Dubois of Idaho. The soup gained popularity and became a beloved item on the Senate menu, known for its simplicity and delicious flavor.

McGuire's Irish Pub, known for its Irish-American cuisine, adopted and adapted this classic Senate Bean Soup recipe to make it their own. They added their unique touch to the dish, likely incorporating flavors and ingredients that resonate with their Irish heritage.

Over time, McGuire's version of Senate Bean Soup became famous in its own right, drawing locals and tourists alike to their pub. It's known for its rich and savory flavor, often featuring ham or ham hocks to add a smoky and meaty depth to the soup.

While it's not an official government recipe, it pays homage to the Senate's culinary tradition.

So, when you enjoy a bowl of McGuire's Bean Soup, you're experiencing a delicious twist on a long-standing Senate tradition, crafted by the creative chefs at McGuire's Irish Pub in Pensacola, Florida.

Why should you try this Mcguire's Bean Soup recipe?

You should definitely try McGuire's Bean Soup recipe for reasons such as:

  • Rich and Hearty Flavor: McGuire's Bean Soup is known for its rich, savory, and hearty flavor. The combination of navy beans and ham creates a robust and satisfying taste that's perfect for a comforting meal.
  • Time-Tested Tradition: This recipe draws inspiration from the long-standing tradition of Senate Bean Soup, which has been a staple in the United States Senate dining room for over a century. It's a taste of history with a delicious twist.
  • Simple and Accessible Ingredients: You don't need exotic or hard-to-find ingredients. Navy beans and ham (or ham hocks) are readily available in most grocery stores, making it an accessible recipe.
  • Perfect for Chilly Days: McGuire's Bean Soup is a warming and filling dish, making it ideal for cooler weather. It's like a cozy blanket for your taste buds.
  • Customizable: You can customize the soup to your preferences. If you like it smokier, add more ham. If you prefer a milder flavor, adjust the seasonings accordingly. It's versatile and adaptable.
  • Impress Your Guests: If you're hosting a gathering, serving this soup can be a delightful surprise for your guests. Its rich flavor and classic appeal make it a crowd-pleaser.
  • Leftovers Are Great: Like many soups, it often tastes even better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld together. Leftovers make for an easy and satisfying lunch or dinner.
  • A Taste of McGuire's: If you can't make it to McGuire's Irish Pub in Pensacola, Florida, trying their signature bean soup recipe at home allows you to experience a bit of their culinary magic no matter where you are.
Trying McGuire's Bean Soup recipe is a delicious journey into the world of classic American comfort food with a unique twist. It's an opportunity to savor a flavorful dish that has stood the test of time and continues to bring joy to those who enjoy it.

What does Mcguire's Bean Soup taste like?

McGuire's Senate Bean Soup is known for its hearty and comforting taste. Here's what you can expect in terms of flavor:

  • Rich and Savory: The soup has a rich, savory flavor profile. The combination of navy beans, ham or ham hocks, and aromatic vegetables creates a robust and meaty taste. The ham imparts a smoky and salty quality, which adds depth to the soup.
  • Creamy and Earthy: As the navy beans simmer and soften, they release starches that naturally thicken the soup. This results in a creamy texture that complements the earthy and nutty flavor of the beans.
  • Balanced Seasoning: The soup is typically seasoned with black pepper and sometimes a touch of salt. The seasonings are balanced to enhance the overall flavor without overpowering the natural tastes of the beans and ham.
  • Fresh Herb Finish: McGuire's often garnishes their Senate Bean Soup with fresh herbs like parsley and chives. These herbs provide a burst of freshness and a contrast to the rich and savory elements of the dish.
In basic terms, McGuire's Senate Bean Soup is a delicious blend of smoky ham, tender beans, and aromatic vegetables. It's a comfort food classic that offers a balance of flavors and textures, making it a satisfying and heartwarming dish.

What is in Mcguire's Bean Soup?

  • Dried Navy Beans: These small white beans are the star of the soup. They're known for their creamy texture and nutty flavor. They need to be soaked before cooking to become tender.
  • Ham Bone or Ham Hocks: The ham bone or ham hocks add a smoky and meaty flavor to the soup. As they simmer with the beans, they infuse the broth with delicious richness.
  • Onion: Finely chopped onion provides a sweet and aromatic base flavor to the soup. It adds depth and complexity to the overall taste.
  • Celery: Chopped celery contributes a subtle earthy and fresh note to the soup. It's a common aromatic in many soup recipes.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic cloves offer a pungent and savory element to the soup. Garlic enhances the overall flavor profile.
  • Bay Leaves: Bay leaves provide a mild herbal flavor and aroma to the soup. They're commonly used as a seasoning in soups and stews.
  • Black Pepper: Ground black pepper adds a hint of spiciness and warmth to the soup. It complements the other flavors without being overpowering.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt enhances the overall taste by balancing the flavors and highlighting the natural sweetness of the beans and ham.
  • Water: Water is used to simmer the beans and create the base broth for the soup.
  • Chicken Broth: Chicken broth adds depth of flavor and savory notes to the soup. It complements the ham and beans beautifully.
  • Fresh Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley is a garnish that adds a burst of freshness and a touch of vibrant green color to the finished soup.
  • Fresh Chives: Chopped fresh chives are another garnish that provides a mild onion-like flavor and complements the overall dish.

Equipment required for this recipe

  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven: You'll need a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven to cook the soup. It should have a lid for simmering.
  • Cutting Board and Knife: You'll need a cutting board to chop the vegetables, onion, garlic, and fresh herbs.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: You'll need these to measure out the ingredients accurately.
  • Wooden Spoon or Ladle: You'll use this for stirring the soup and serving.
  • Colander: You'll need a colander for draining and rinsing the soaked beans.
  • Soup Bowls: You'll need bowls for serving the finished soup.
  • Soup Ladle: A ladle is useful for portioning and serving the soup.
  • Kitchen Timer: While not essential, a kitchen timer can be helpful to keep track of cooking times.

How to make Mcguire's Bean Soup

Explore the authentic McGuire's Bean Soup recipe, filled with savory goodness. Learn to make this iconic dish step by step!


  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 1 ham bone or 1 pound ham hocks
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives


  1. Start by rinsing the navy beans and picking out any debris. Then, soak the beans in water overnight or use the quick soak method on the package.
  2. In a large pot, combine the soaked and drained beans, ham bone or ham hocks, chopped onion, celery, minced garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Add 4 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken broth to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 2 hours, or until the beans are tender and the soup has thickened.
  4. As the soup cooks, periodically skim off any foam that forms on the surface.
  5. Once the beans are tender, remove the ham bone or hocks from the soup and shred the meat. Return the shredded meat to the pot.
  6. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Before serving, stir in the chopped fresh parsley and chives for a burst of fresh flavor.
  8. Ladle the Senate Bean Soup into bowls and serve hot. Enjoy!

How to serve Mcguire's Bean Soup

To serve this McGuire's Senate Bean Soup is a simple and enjoyable process. below are the steps to serve it:

  1. Prepare Your Soup Bowls: Make sure your soup bowls are clean and ready for serving. You can warm them briefly in the microwave or by rinsing with hot water if you like your soup to stay hot longer.
  2. Ladle the Soup: Using a ladle or a large spoon, carefully scoop the hot soup from the pot or Dutch oven and portion it into each soup bowl. Be sure to include a good balance of beans, ham, and broth in each serving.
  3. Garnish: After ladling the soup, garnish each bowl with a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley and chives. These fresh herbs add color and freshness to the dish.
  4. Serve Hot: Senate Bean Soup is best enjoyed piping hot. Serve it immediately while it's still steaming to fully savor its rich and savory flavors.
  5. Optional Sides: If you'd like, you can serve the soup with some crusty bread or crackers on the side. These can be used for dipping or to add some texture to your meal.

Note: You can provide some extra salt and pepper on the table in case anyone wants to adjust the seasoning to their liking. Enjoy your homemade Senate Bean Soup!

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 574 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Mcguire's Bean Soup, Mcguire's Bean Soup Recipe, Recipe, Easy, Homemade, Top rated

What to serve Mcguire's Bean Soup with

McGuire's Senate Bean Soup is delicious on its own, but you can enhance your meal by serving it with complementary side dishes. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Crusty Bread: A classic choice is to serve the soup with slices of crusty bread or dinner rolls. You can toast the bread for added texture and flavor.
  2. Saltine Crackers: These simple crackers are a great accompaniment. They can be crumbled into the soup for some extra crunch.
  3. Cornbread: Cornbread is a popular choice to pair with bean soup. Its slightly sweet and crumbly texture contrasts nicely with the savory soup.
  4. Grilled Cheese Sandwich: A warm grilled cheese sandwich is a comforting side dish that complements the soup's richness. Dip the sandwich into the soup for an extra treat.
  5. Side Salad: For a lighter option, consider serving a side salad with fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette dressing. It provides a refreshing contrast to the hearty soup.
  6. Pickles: Some people enjoy dill pickles or pickled jalapeños alongside their bean soup. The tangy, briny flavors can be a nice contrast to the soup's richness.
  7. Sliced Ham: If you have extra ham or ham hocks, you can serve thin slices of ham as a side dish. It complements the ham flavor in the soup.
  8. Steamed Vegetables: Steamed or roasted vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans, can provide a healthy and colorful side to balance the meal.
  9. Cheese Plate: Consider creating a cheese platter with a variety of cheeses, crackers, and some fresh fruit. This can be a delightful accompaniment to the soup.
  10. Fruit Salad: A bowl of fresh fruit salad, with a mix of seasonal fruits, can add a refreshing element to your meal.

The choice of side dishes primarily depends on you. Feel free to mix and match to create a meal that suits your taste. McGuire's Senate Bean Soup is versatile and pairs well with a wide range of sides, making it a satisfying and enjoyable meal.

My recommendations and tips

  • Soak the Beans: If using dried navy beans, be sure to soak them overnight. This helps them cook faster and more evenly. If you're short on time, you can use the quick soak method, which involves bringing the beans to a boil and then letting them sit for an hour.
  • Use High-Quality Ingredients: The quality of your ham or ham hocks will greatly influence the flavor of the soup. Opt for good-quality ham for the best results.
  • Season Thoughtfully: Be mindful when adding salt since ham can be salty. Taste the soup before adding more salt, and keep in mind that the flavor will intensify as it cooks.
  • Skim the Foam: While the soup simmers, be sure to skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface. This helps keep the broth clear and clean-tasting.
  • Adjust Consistency: If your soup turns out thicker than you'd like, you can always add a bit more water or chicken broth to reach your desired consistency.
  • Fresh Herbs: Don't skip the fresh parsley and chives garnish. They add a burst of color and freshness that elevates the dish.
  • Leftovers: McGuire's Senate Bean Soup often tastes even better the next day as the flavors meld. Consider making a larger batch and storing leftovers for future meals.
  • Customize: Feel free to customize the soup to your taste. If you love garlic, add more. If you prefer a spicier kick, you can sprinkle red pepper flakes on top.
  • Enjoy with Company: Soups like this are perfect for sharing with family and friends. Consider inviting loved ones over for a cozy meal.
  • Experiment with Sides: As mentioned earlier, try different side dishes to find what complements the soup best. You can turn it into a full meal experience.
  • Make It Your Own: While this recipe is inspired by McGuire's, don't hesitate to put your personal touch on it. Cooking is an art, and your preferences can shine through.
  • Store Properly: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Potential ingredients substitutes

If you're looking to make McGuire's Senate Bean Soup but don't have some of the ingredients on hand, here are some potential substitutes you can consider:

  • Navy Beans: If you don't have navy beans, you can use great northern beans or cannellini beans as they have a similar texture and flavor.
  • Ham or Ham Hocks: If you're out of ham or ham hocks, you can use smoked turkey legs or wings for a smoky flavor. Smoked sausage or bacon can also work as a flavorful substitute.
  • Onion: If you run out of onions, you can use leeks, shallots, or even onion powder. These alternatives provide a similar oniony flavor.
  • Celery: In place of celery, you can use celery seed or celery salt for a milder celery flavor. Alternatively, you can use chopped carrots for a touch of sweetness and color.
  • Garlic: If you don't have fresh garlic, garlic powder or minced garlic from a jar can be used. Adjust the quantity to your taste.
  • Bay Leaves: While bay leaves add a nice herbal touch, if you don't have them, you can omit them or use a pinch of dried thyme or oregano for added flavor.
  • Chicken Broth: If you're out of chicken broth, vegetable broth or water with bouillon cubes or powder can be used as a substitute.
  • Fresh Herbs: If you don't have fresh parsley and chives for garnish, you can use dried parsley flakes or omit them altogether. Fresh basil or cilantro can also work in a pinch.
  • Salt and Pepper: Always adjust these to your taste. If you're trying to reduce sodium, use a low-sodium broth and go light on the salt.

Final Remark

In conclusion, crafting McGuire's Senate Bean Soup is a delightful journey into flavor and tradition. With each spoonful, savor the warmth of this beloved recipe. Embrace the legacy and relish every comforting bite.

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