Haitian Pumpkin Soup – Soup Joumou (joo-moo)


Haitian Pumpkin


This savory soup is served in all Haitian households on New Years day in commemoration of  Haitian Independence day. It was on January first, 1804, that Haiti became the world’s first independent black republic and second independent country in the western hemisphere by defeating the French. It’s so sacred that most households in Haiti only drink that soups on the first of the year.

Since I was 4 year old until 15 I was tasked and worked in the kitchen with my late grandma (a.k.a.  Mama) every January 1st to help making the soup.

Note: Although I don’t eat meat, but I am including it in this recipe because most people make and eat this soup with meat.

  • Minutes to Prepare: 30
  • Minutes to Cook: 120
  • Number of Servings: 20
  • Tips: read them below


  • 1/2 lb. beef stew meat  and 1/2 lb. oxtail
  • 10 – 15 cups of water (add more later if necessary to make soup less thick)
  • 1 1/2 lbs pumpkin, peeled & diced
  • 2 turnips, diced
  • 3 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper with stem
  • 1 celery head sliced and cut into pieces
  • 1 small cabbage
  • 3 – 5 parsley sprigs
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 pound vermicelli
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 – 4 teaspoons butter
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1 low sodium beef bouillon cube (for more flavor)


Part 1  (For an enhanced flavor, you can marinate the meat  for up to one day in advance .)

  • Check your list 48 hour prior to the big day to make sure you have everything in place
  • Prepare the marinating sauce made by crushing 4 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon thyme 1/4 teaspoon pepper, shallot and 2 sliced scallions and 2 teaspoons of salt
  • Clean meat with lime, rinse with hot water and drain
  • Marinate meat with meat rub base on the marinating sauce you made earlier.
  • Put the marinate meat in the fridge (if cooking is in more than 24 hours you might want to put in the freezer)

Part 2

  1. In a pot, bring 3-5 teaspoon of oil (extra virgin olive  oil) and fry the grape garlic, green onion, and until almost brown color
  2. Add the marinated meat with the oil and tomato paste and brown by adding small amounts of water to caramelize the meat. Cook covered over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  3. While the meat is cooking, cook the fresh (if any) pumpkin over medium heat in 6 cups water for 30 minutes. Puree pumpkin in the water.
  4. Add water to the meat and pureed pumpkin and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, turnips, tomato sauce, potato and parsely to the soup, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-1.5 hour with a whole scotch bonnet on top. (scotch bonnet is for flavoring not to make the soup “hot”. remove the pepper as you stir the soup and remove it before it bursts)
  6. Add the spaghetti broken in to short pieces and cook until soft and tender.
  7. Taste and add a minimal amount of salt, black pepper or hot pepper to taste.
  8. Turn off the heat, cover the pot, and let sit until ready to serve.


  • Use a bigger pot than what you need so the soup can be maintained when reached boiled level
  • It’s import to keep checking the
  • If using frozen squash, you may still want to get whole fresh squash because the fresh one always make it taste better.
  • To help boost the that and keep the sodium level low do the following:  fry some grape garlic, green onion, and red onion diced until the become brown
  • The pasta will reduce the amount of liquid in the soup it’s best to cook separately and merge it  with the rest of the food 5-10 minutes prior to serve
  • Reduce the amount of

Now, you are ready to make your soup.