Soup Joumou

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For those of you who have been waiting, here’s a recipe for soup joumou (pumpkin soup). Soup joumou has a lot of significance here in Haiti and  there is a rich history behind this recipe. Traditionally, it is eaten on New Year’s Day, but our family has enjoyed it so much, we eat it regularly. Being rich in vitamins, it is also a healthy meal. You can read more about the reason why it’s served on New Year’s Day here.

Soup Joumou (Pumpkin Soup)

  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  •  1 lb. chicken
  •  1 lb. cabbage
  •  1 onion
  •  3 cloves
  •  3 medium size turnips
  •  1/4 lb. vermicelli
  •  1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
  •  2 lb. joumou (pumpkin)
  •  Celery leaves
  •  3 big carrots
  •  1 hot pimento, whole with stem
  •  6 medium-sized potatoes
  •  1/4 qt. water

Use a 9 qt. kettle to boil the beef and the chicken. Skim residue off the top. When the meat begins to get tender (about 2 hours or 1 hour in pressure cooker) add all vegetables. Continue boiling until meat is tender and vegetables are cooked (1/2 hour). Turn off the heat and let cool. Cube the meat and strain the vegetables through a fine sieve. Return cubed meat and liquid to the kettle and bring to boil. Add the pimento, being careful not to break or puncture it. (This is more for aroma than for flavor) Simmer until vermicelli is cooked.

Note: The deep orange-colored pumpkin used in the United States is different in color and taste from the pumpkin used here in Haiti. The pumpkin here is smaller and has more of an orange-yellow color to it. Its taste is a little more subdued and is more akin to winter squash. However, I have used the pumpkin here to make pumpkin pie and find it works quite nicely so the American pumpkin would most likely do well in Haitian pumpkin soup.

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