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Haitian Pumpkin Soup: A Symbol of Haitian Independence

Published: December 16, 2018

January 1st 2019 will mark 215 years of the independence of Haiti. 300 years ago, Haiti was colonized by France. In November 18th 1803, we Haitians, slaves at that time, won an important battle: the battle of Vertières. This was the second battle against the colonizers which led to our becoming the first independent Black republic and to ending slavery. 

In Haiti throughout its colonization, pumpkin soup was served only to the privileged, more specifically the masters; it was not allowed to the slaves. They were fed like animals just like the way they were treated.      

Therefore every year on January 1st, it is common in almost all Haitian households around the world to celebrate the liberty of Haitians with the pleasant traditional dish: pumpkin soup. This is the English translation of the Haitian creole: Soup joumou. After abolishing the system of slavery, Claire Heureuse, General Dessalines’ spouse picked it as the perfect dish to celebrate this precious moment with music and dance at Place D'armes in Gonaives on January 1st 1804. The pumpkin soup since then has such a great political characteristic in Haitian history and is a symbol of courage, pride, respect and equality - the victory against slavery. It is the commemoration of the liberation of Haiti. 


This is the story behind our impeccable soup joumou!


                                Lénie, Port-au-Prince, Haiti!




1 1lb of beef
1/2 cup of olive oil
water as needed
1 large scallions, diced
1 half medium cabbage, diced
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 yanm, peeled and chopped
2 malanga, peeled and chopped
1 pumpkin, peeled and chopped
2 turnips, peeled and chopped
1 stalk of celery chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 6 oz. package of macaroni
1 scotch bonnet pepper
4 parsley sprigs

Meat seasoning spices:
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp thyme
2 shallots, diced
1 tsp Adobo seasoning salt
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder 



1. Marinate the meat overnight or for at least 1 hour.
2. Place the seasoned meat in a stockpot and cover with water.
3. Add oil and let boil over high heat. Keep covered until the water has evaporated.
4. Uncover, stir and simmer a few drops of water occasionally to brown the meat.
5. Keep stirring and simmer water occasionally until you have a nice browning color to the meat
6. Remove meat and set aside pot for the vegetables.

1. In a separate bowl, cut into small pieces the large scallions and half medium cabbage.
2. Peel & chop the potato, yanm, malanga, pumpkin, carrots, and turnip.
3. Wash the vegetables. Add to a separate pot of boiling water.
4. Cover and cook over high heat for about an hour. Reduce heat and add scotch bonnet pepper.
5. Once the pumpkin is fully cooked, remove it from the pot. Use some of the cooking water to blend it into a puree.
6. For best flavoring, pour the cooked vegetables, the squash puree and cooking liquid into the pot that cooked the meat.
7. Add parsley, thyme and macaroni.
8. Let it all cook, until tender.
9. Combine meat into soup. Serve hot with some baguette☺