Soup Joumou

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.

Poulè Sos Kreyol (Chicken in Creole Sauce)

Chicken Creole sauceYesterday, I posted a recipe for diri ak pwa (red beans and rice) which is the traditional meal in Haiti. I mentioned that often one will top it off with chicken cooked into a creole sauce, provided they have enough money for the extras. Here is a recipe of the sauce with added variations at the end. Again, bon appétit!

Poulé sos kreyol (serves 4)

  • 1 large onion, chopped (1 c.)
  • 3/4 c. diced green pepper (1 medium)
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 Tbsp. oil
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • 2 c. cubed cooked chicken
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • Hot cooked rice

In large skillet, sauté onion, green pepper and garlic in oil until tender, stirring occasionally. Add flour; cook and stir just until flour starts to brown. Stir in tomato paste, broth, salt, sugar and pepper sauce. Cook and stir until mixture comes to boil and thickens. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken and season with fresh-ground pepper. Heat until hot. Serve over hot rice.


Our cook likes to add pwawo (leeks) as an extra as well as fresh piman (hot pepper) to the sauce instead of hot sauce.

After posting the recipe for red rice and beans, one of our readers left a comment on our website asking about the recipe for soup joumou (pumpkin soup). Seems many of you are interested in the wonderful cuisine we enjoy here in Haiti! Further on, I will post a recipe for this wonderful meal that the Haitian people take so much pride in making.

Diri ak Pwa (Red Beans & Rice)


In response to yesterday’s post (“This Is the Way We Do It“), I received a request from one of our supporting pastors for two recipes. One was for our traditional rice and beans (diri ak pwa). The other was for Chicken with Creole Sauce. Today, I’m posting the recette (recipe) for rice and beans. Further ahead stay tuned for the makings of the Creole sauce. Bon appétit!

DIRI ak PWA (Red Beans and Rice) – Serves 6

  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans
  • 3 tablespoons lard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 to 8 cups water

In a large sieve or colander wash the beans under running water until the draining water runs clear. Transfer them to a heavy 3- to -4 quart saucepan, add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and ground pepper, and pour in 6 cups of water. Bring it to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to low, and simmer partially covered for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the beans are tender but still intact. Drain in a sieve set over a deep bowl and put the beans aside. Measure the cooking liquid and add enough water to make 4 cups.

In a heavy 2 1/2- to 3 quart saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the lard over moderate heat. When it is very hot but not smoking, add the rice and stir for 1 or 2 minutes, until the grains turn somewhat milky and opaque.

Stir in the 4 cups of reserved liquid and water, the remaining teaspoon of salt and ground pepper to taste, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to the lowest possible point. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid. Taste for seasoning and set aside off the heat, partially covered to keep the rice warm.

Working quickly, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of lard in a heavy 8- to 10-inch skillet. Drop in the beans and stir until they are heated through. Watch carefully for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly.

Fluff the rice with a fork, mount it on a heated platter, and surround it or top it with beans. Serve at once.


When our cook, Marie, makes rice and beans, she uses olive oil to replace of the lard or vegetable oil which is mostly used here in Haiti. It’s much healthier and doesn’t affect the taste.

Also, when she’s frying the beans, she mixes in garlic, onions, and sometimes green pepper along with a chicken bouillon cube to accentuate the taste. Often, she scoops some of the beans into a little dish and brings them to me as a treat. She knows I love fried beans!

Another variation: Instead of serving the rice with the beans on top, Marie pours the uncooked rice into the beans and reserved liquid from the beans and cooks them together. Personally, we feel this is tastier than the other way.

Finally, this recipe does not include the jirof (cloves) that I mentioned in the last article. Marie puts a small handful (enough to cover the inner palm of your hand) into the rice and beans as they are cooking together.