Bill Knapp's Bean Soup

2 reviews, 4.5 star(s). 67% would make again

Ready in 45 minutes

Very similar to the recipe served at the U.S. Senate, and quite like Bill Knapp's famous version.


6 1/4 cups Great Northern Beans; Dry
3/4 pound Smoked Ham Shank
12 cups Water
3 tablespoon Ham Base; See Note In Step 1
1 ea Onion; chopped
1 ea Carrot; Chopped
2 stalks Celery; Chopped
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
to taste salt and pepper; to taste

Original recipe makes 10



1. Put beans in a large bowl, add water to cover and soak overnight. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the ham shank and 4 cups water and simmer for about 45 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bone and shred meat. Set bone and shredded meat aside for later. Note: Reserve the stock, if desired, to replace the ham base.

2. Drain the beans. In an 8-quart pot over high heat, combine the beans, 12 cups fresh water and ham base. Note: At this point, if desired, measure reserved stock from step 1, add water to total 12 cups liquid, and use this mixture to eliminate the ham base.

3. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic powder, ham, ham bone, and salt & pepper.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until beans are tender. Add additional water as necessary. Soup should be thick enough to heavily coat a spoon.

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I worked in the Bill Knapp Commissary in Battle Creek for over 10 years and this is the closest recipe to the original recipe that I have found. Great taste. Good consistancy. Wish they hadn't closed.
jim43412 5y ago

Grandson's request to have for his Birthday dinner. Easy to make and very good. He thought it tasted like Bill Knapp's
jengbloom 6y ago

[I posted this recipe.]
vogelap 9y ago

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