Soup joumou, or Haitian pumpkin soup, is a Caribbean comfort food loved by Haitians around the world. Its main ingredients are beef, squash, lots of root vegetables, cabbage, and pasta.
You may be wondering why I’m sharing a Haitian recipe for stew so I will explain briefly, then share the recipe. If you would then be so kind as to read about HAITI CHILDREN, a Haitian non-profit organization which is very close to my heart, I would be ever so grateful. To skip to the recipe, use the Jump to Recipe button above.
This post is not sponsored.
What is Soup Joumou?
Soup joumou, or pumpkin soup, is Haiti’s independence day soup, and contains beef, squash, root vegetables, cabbage, and pasta. Although I haven’t been to Haiti, I think this soup is to Haiti as jerk chicken is to Jamaica.
It is also Haiti’s national dish and often served on Sundays. Soupe joumou is a New Year’s Day tradition for Haitians because it’s the country’s independence day. – source Visit Haiti. It reminds me a bit of Scotch broth, which is a meat and vegetable soup from Scotland. It’s like Scotland’s bright and colorful, Caribbean soup cousin!
The recipe shared below is slightly adapted from Jenna Chrisphonte’s recipe in The Washington Post. Truly, being more versed in Italian and British cuisine, the number of ingredients in this dish made my head spin!
Here’s a super simple celery soup recipe!
However, it’s not a difficult recipe to make, it just takes some time. Plan on prepping ahead of time especially if you marinate the beef overnight as I did.
Why am I Sharing this Haitian Recipe?
For years I have supported Haiti Children (formerly Mercy & Sharing), a non-profit organization founded by Susie Krabacher and her husband B. Joseph Krabacher. Susie is not just a philanthropist: she is on the ground, and hands on with the children in Haiti, working to help as many as she possibly can. This is one of the reasons I trust this organization with my donations, and why it is one of my favorite charities.
Her organization currently supports over 9,000 people through its programs, while running an orphanage with 119 children, and 160 local Haitian employees. As a former children’s social worker, and mother, I feel compelled to help children in need, and this is one way to do so.
Another unique aspect, which I truly admire about Haiti Children, is that ~
100% of donations go directly to the children of Haiti.
The salaries of their US staff are paid by their board members, ensuring that our donations are not used for marketing, travel, or other internal expenses.
Haiti Children approached me with an idea: share a Haitian recipe to highlight the plight of Haitians and the abandoned children at this critical time. How could I refuse? It is an honor to help this organization in any way I can, and so I ask you if you could choose just one of the following actions (or a few, or all of them, if you are a star)!
How to Help the Children in Haiti
- Visit the Haiti Children website to learn more about how they help over 1500 abandoned children.
- Check out Susie’s blog to understand why it’s critical that they receive help at this time of civil unrest.
- Have a fundraiser to benefit Haiti Children. A bake sale, donation jars, community yard sale, etc.
- Follow Haiti Children on Instagram, Facebook, and/or YouTube.
- Make a donation, no matter how small. If 100 people donate $1, this provides 400 meals for orphans.
- Sign up for the $11/month donation option.
- Shop on Amazon? Set up Amazon Smile to donate to Haiti Children (at no additional cost to you)!
- Share any of the above with friends, family, and coworkers.
- Share this soup recipe on social media. If you have a website, consider creating a similar post for your own readers.
Cast Iron Pot Giveaway!* is now over. Congratulations to Joan S.
And to encourage as many donations as possible, I am giving away a Lodge cast iron 5 quart pot which you can use to make incredible artisan-style, no knead bread to have with soup joumou!
It’s perfect for wiping up the bottom of the bowl of this hearty soup!
Thank you for your support.
To make it easy for you, here’s a QR code to donate! Use this any time.
And now for the delicious Haitian soup joumou recipe, or Haitian pumpkin soup, as promised.
Disclosure: when I read the recipe and started making it, I become apprehensive about tasting this soup because it contains more ingredients than four Italian recipes put together. My mother and father were also concerned about how this soup was going to taste, but all of us were incredibly surprised! We loved it, including my husband, and a close family friend who joined us for soup joumou! P.S. Everyone had a second helping, and we’re making it again!
Soup Joumou (Haitian Pumpkin Soup)
slightly adapted from Jenna Chrisphonte Serves 10
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW
- beef marrow bones
- stew beef
- freshly squeezed lime juice
- green bell pepper
- green onions
- fresh parsley
- extra virgin olive oil
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- white pepper
- cayenne pepper
- kabocha squash (Haitian pumpkin)
- Scotch bonnet pepper – optional
- beef flavor Better than Bouillon (or 2 OXO beef cubes)
- fresh thyme
Special equipment: 8 qt pot or larger
Marinate the Beef
Place the meat and soup bones in a big bowl and toss with part of the lime juice.
Allow to rest for 15 minutes then rinse well.
Assemble all the ingredients for the marinade.
Prepare and blend the marinade ingredients as directed.
Pour the marinade into over the beef and bones in the large bowl.
Add the spices and stir well.
Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight for best flavor.
Make the Soup Joumou
Wash the squash/pumpkin well, split in half, removed the seeds and cut each half into three wedges.
After marinating the beef, place the it with the marinade into a very large pot and place the wedges on top.
Next, add half of the water, and put the burner on medium high. Bring to a boil and simmer until the squash is cooked.
Remove the squash/pumpkin when ready and allow to cool.
Scrape the flesh from the skin and place into a blender. Add 2 cups of water and purée until smooth.
Pour into the pot and stir.
Add the vegetables next.
If using the Scotch bonnet pepper, add it at this time.
Follow with more 4 more cups of water, bouillon, the bunch of thyme, and stir well.
Bring to a boil, then simmer for 2o minutes, covered. Stir occasionally so it doesn’t stick.
Next add the remaining lime juice. Taste and season with more salt, which will definitely be needed at this point. My soup wasn’t very thick due to the smaller size of squash, but if yours is too thick, add a little water to reach your desired consistency, then taste and season again. Remove the Scotch bonnet pepper and thyme.
Now add the chopped cabbage.
Finally, add the pasta. Depending on the shape and size of the pasta you use, you’ll have to cook the soup according to when the pasta is ready. Don’t overcook the pasta as it will continue to cook as it stays in the hot pot. Note: it may also take longer than directed on the package because it’s not being cooked in boiling water.
Remove from heat when ready and serve with your choice of bread.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think of it! Too much work? Then this easy pumpkin soup is an alternative with only three ingredients!
- 1 pound beef stew meat
- 1 pound beef marrow bones
- 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 4 to 6 green onions, chopped
- 6 to 8 cloves of garlic, peeled and base removed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- ½ tsp finely ground cayenne pepper
- 1 (2 pound) kabocha squash
- 6 cups water (for pot) 2 cups (to purée squash)
- 3 medium potatoes, diced large
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 medium turnip (about 8 oz), diced
- (optional) 1 whole green Scotch bonnet pepper, left whole
- 2 tablespoons of beef Better than Bouillon (or 2 OXO beef cubes)
- a few sprigs fresh thyme, tied with butcher's twine
- 4 cups water
- 1 small Savoy cabbage (1 pound), chopped into small ribbons
- ½ cup (about 2 oz) small pasta, like ditali or anellini
Special equipment: 8 qt pot or larger
- Place the meat and soup bones in a big bowl and toss with part of the lime juice.
- Allow to rest for 15 minutes then rinse well.
Marinade & Spices
- Assemble all the ingredients for the marinade. Prepare and blend the marinade ingredients as directed. Pour the marinade into over the beef and bones in the large bowl. Add the spices and stir well.
- Refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight for best flavor.
Cook and Purée the Squash
- Wash the squash well, split in half, removed the seeds and cut each half into three wedges.
- After marinating the beef, place the it with the marinade into a very large pot and place the wedges on top. Next, add 6 cups of water, and put the burner on medium high. Bring to a boil and simmer until the squash is cooked.
- Remove the squash when ready and allow to cool. Scrape the flesh from the skin and place into a blender. Add 2 cups of water and purée until smooth. Pour into the pot and stir.
Add Vegetables and More Water
- Add the vegetables next. If using the Scotch bonnet pepper, add it at this time. Follow with 4 more cups of water, bouillon, the bunch of thyme, and stir well. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick.
- Next add the remaining lime juice. Taste and season with more salt, which will definitely be needed at this point. Add water if desired, then taste and season again. Remove the Scotch bonnet pepper and thyme.
Final Additions: Cabbage and Pasta
- Now add the chopped cabbage and finally, the pasta. Depending on the shape and size of the pasta you use, you'll have to cook the soup according to when the pasta is ready. Don't overcook the pasta as it will continue to cook as it stays in the hot pot. Note: it may also take longer than directed on the package because it's not being cooked in boiling water.
- Remove from heat when ready and serve with your choice of bread.
- This soup is very forgiving, so feel free to add more or less of the vegetables as desired, or skip the pasta altogether for a gluten free meal.
- My soup wasn't very thick due to the smaller size of squash, but if yours is too thick, add a little water to reach your desired consistency
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 274Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 274mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 25g
Nutrition information is only estimated.
- Archway Romania founded by Susan Booth, which I discovered over 20 years ago in a magazine and have been supporting ever since. Susan helps abandoned children living in the sewers of Bucharest.
- My past co-worker and very good friend of over 30 years, Lori Dubrawka, is the founder of The Appalachian Reading Center, Inc. which is committed to helping struggling readers of every age and income level.
- Homeboy Industries, located here in LA was founded by Fr. Greg Boyle (he and my son both graduated from Loyola High School) Homeboy Industries provides support to former gang-involved and/or the previously incarcerated, allowing them to redirect their lives and become thriving members of our community.
This post is not sponsored.