Haitian Beef and Squash Soup (Soup Joumou)

In Haiti, soup joumou is synonymous with freedom. Legend has it during the time of French colonization, African slaves were forced to cultivate the squash to be used in this dish, but were not allowed to eat it. When Haiti won its independence from the French in 1804, it made sense that the dish chosen to celebrate their new-found freedom would be this traditional stew with lots of squash.

Haitian Soup Juomuo

Soup Joumou- Haitian Beef and Pumpkin Soup

Although every family in Haiti has their own "special" recipe for this soup, it almost always includes marinated beef cubes, Haitian epis seasoning base, vegetables and, of course, squash.
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Course: Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Caribbean, Haiti
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Marinate Meat: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 10
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Soup pot
  • Blender or food processor
  • Medium bowl


  • 10 tbsp Epis seasoning (RECIPE)
  • 1 lb Boneless beef chuck (stew meat)
  • 3 medium Lime
  • 2 lbs Calabaza or butternut squash
  • 1 cup Water, for squash puree
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Tomato paste
  • 1 cube Chicken or beef bullion
  • 6 cups Water, for soup
  • 4 medium Potatoes, russet or Idaho
  • 3 cup Shredded cabbage
  • 4 medium Carrots
  • 1 large White onion
  • 2 stalk Celery
  • 3 sprig Parsley
  • 1 whole Scotch bonnet or habanero chili pepper
  • ½ tsp Dried thyme
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper


  • Prep – Make Epis seasoning in advance. Peel squash, carrots, and onion. Roughly chop squash, cut potatoes into ¾-inch cubes, cut carrots and celery into ½-inch slices, and finely chop onion. Trim and slice scallion. Halve limes.
    Rinse beef cubes and transfer to a plastic zip lock bag. Squeeze in juice from limes and massage it into the beef cubes. Add half the epis seasoning and toss to coat. Place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour or ideally overnight.
    When ready to cook, puree squash with water in a blender or food processor.
  • Make Soup – Heat olive oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add beef in its marinade, tomato paste and bullion cube crumbled. Sear meat until it caramelizes and darkens, about 10 minutes. Transfer meat to a bowl.
    Add water to pot and bring to a boil. Add potato, carrot, celery, onion, cabbage, scallion, parsley, and Scotch bonnet pepper. Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
    Bring to a boil, add back meat and its juices and return to a boil. Cover and reduce heat low. Simmer soup for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Gently remove the Scotch bonnet chili pepper and ladle into bowls. Serve hot with crusty bread.


  • Joumou can be stored in the refrigerator for days and frozen for months.
  • If soup seems too thick, stir in enough water to get your preferred consistency.


Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 576mg | Potassium: 1039mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 13874IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 3mg

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