New Year’s Day is approaching, and it is time again for one of the most popular traditions in the Haitian Culture, Soup Joumou, (Creole) Soupe de Giraumon or Squash Soup. Traditionally served on New Year’s Day, Soup Joumou is made with a type of squash called Calabaza, West Indian pumpkin, or Giraumon. Depending on where you live, the squash will have a different name.
The soup is prepared early in the day and is served all morning to family, friends, and visitors as they wish each other a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.
Throughout the years and because of the availability of other types of squash it is not common for many to make the traditional soup with butternut squash, which is one of my favorite squash to use. Although it is not the regular squash, the concept of New Year’s Day soup is still the same.
Soup Joumou or Soupe de Giraumon is made primarily with beef, carrots, cabbage, turnips, parsnips, macaroni, and spices. The soup is also served on Sunday morning at breakfast with bread.
There are many versions of Soup Joumou or Soupe de Giraumon. The primary and most important step of this soup is cooking the beef or poultry before cooking any other ingredients. The meat or poultry must be well spiced and marinated. Many people often marinate their meat or poultry the day before for flavor enhancement.
Calabaza, Giraumon, or West Indian squash does not have a smooth and silky texture similar to butternut squash. Both squash types are very similar in taste, but the texture is different.
Although I grew up eating the traditional pumpkin, I very much enjoy cooking with butternut squash and also because it is mostly available in many US markets. Try this soup with both Butternut squash and Calabaza pumpkin and taste the difference. This is an excellent and healthy soup to start your Sunday mornings or New Year’s Day.