Soup Joumou (Haitian Pumpkin Soup)
Soup Joumou is a colorful, pumpkin-based soup traditionally enjoyed with fresh bread on Haiti’s day of independence, January 1st. With beef, vermicelli, and plenty of veggies and spices, it’s full of flavor and has everything you need for a complete meal.
- 1 lb beef stew meat, cubed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 lb Caribbean pumpkin, peeled and chopped
- 1 lb cabbage, sliced and chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 lb malanga, peeled and cubed
- 3 medium sized turnips, peeled and cubed
- Juice of 2 limes
- 1/4 lb vermicelli, broken up into short noodles
- 4 cloves garlic, mashed
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1 tsp thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, whole
- Rinse the beef in hot water and rub with lemon juice. Place in a large bowl.
- Combine the garlic, scallions, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Add spice mixture to the beef (coat well) and allow to marinate for at least one hour.
- Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the marinated beef and whole scotch bonnet pepper, cover, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until tender.
- Add the carrots and pumpkin. Continue to cook for 20 more minutes, until pumpkin is soft.
- Strain out the pumpkin and scotch bonnet pepper. Discard pepper and puree pumpkin. Return pumpkin, now pureed, to the pot.
- Add the potatoes, celery, turnips, and malanga. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and cook for 20 more minutes. Add more water if level gets low or soup becomes thick. Continue to simmer until vegetables are cooked and meat is tender, about 30 more minutes.
- Add vermicelli and continue cooking until tender.
- Taste and add more salt and additional seasoning if needed. Pour in lime juice and stir.
- Serve hot with fresh sliced bread.
- If you can’t find Caribbean pumpkin at your local grocery store or ethnic food store, butternut squash is a good substitute.