Haitian Pumpkin Soup


Haitians developed pumpkin soup, or Soup Joumou, as Mirta Yurnet-Thomas calls it in her book "A Taste of Haiti," in reaction to French rulers who said the Haitians were not allowed to eat soup. It is the traditional dish made to celebrate Haitian Independence Day which is January 1. The soup is fiery with the addition of Scotch bonnet peppers, one of the most incendiary peppers. Don't let the long list of ingredients discourage you from making this dish. Once all the peeling and chopping is done, the rest is easy. The soup simply simmers.

Step 1

Prepare the marinade. Chop the scallions, onions, shallot, green pepper and chives finely. Add the lime juice, 2 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar and one Scotch bonnet that has been quartered. Cut the beef chuck into 1-inch pieces. Place everything in a plastic container and marinate overnight. Turn the meat several times. Distribute the Scotch bonnet evenly.

Step 2

Wash the pumpkin off. Peel and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Step 3

Place the beef bones and pumpkin chunks in an oven-proof 8-qt. stock pot. Put in a 425 degree oven until the bones have browned but have not cooked through, about 30 minutes. The outside surfaces of the pumpkin will have begun to brown and caramelize as well. Remove the pot from the oven.

Step 4

Drain the marinade from the beef, or, if you like very spicy food, add the marinade to the stock pot. If you don't, quickly rinse off the beef chunks under running water.

Step 5

Add 6 cups of water and the beef to the stock pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1 hour until the beef is tender. Remove the bones and the pumpkin. Puree the pumpkin in a blender and return to the stock pot.

Step 6

Clean, peel and chop into 1-inch pieces the celery, leeks, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Add them to the stock pot along with another Scotch bonnet which has been pierced with a fork. The more times you prick it, the hotter the soup will be. Start out with two pricks. Bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti. Bring back up to a boil then lower the heat and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tips and Warnings

  • Wear rubber gloves when handling the Scotch bonnet pepper. Wash the gloves off afterward.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Lime juice, 1/4 cup
  • Scallions 2
  • Onion
  • Garlic cloves 4
  • Shallot
  • Chives, 1/4 cup
  • Green pepper
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Plastic container
  • Beef chuck 2 lbs.
  • Beef bones 2 lbs.
  • Stock pot
  • Blender
  • Pumpkin 4 cups
  • Celery 4 stalks
  • Cabbage 1/4 small head
  • Leek
  • Carrots 2
  • Potatoes 2 large
  • Whole cloves 4
  • Spaghetti (or macaroni or a little of both)
  • Potatoes, peeled and cut in 4 pieces each
  • Scotch bonnet pepper 2


  • "A Taste of Haiti"; Mirta Yurnet-Thomas; 2002
Keywords: spicy pumpkin soup, make Haitian soup, make pumpkin soup

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on GardenGuides.com, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.