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. An excellent and healthy soup to start your Sunday mornings or New Year’s day.
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- 3 pounds calabaza pumpkin or butternut squashe, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 pounds beef neck bones or beef shanks
- 1 lime/lemon cut in half and juiced reserve liquid (about 2 tablespoons)
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1 small scotch bonnet peeper or habanero pepper whole not chopped
- 1 small onion sliced
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 sprigs parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups water room temperature
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 leek sliced thinly
- 2 celery stalks cut in ½ inch pieces
- 2 medium carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 medium parsnips peeled and sliced,
- 2 turnips peeled and quartered
- 2 large potatoes peeled and cut in 4 to 6 pieces
- 3 cabbage leaves chopped or sliced
- 3 whole cloves
- ½ cup pasta noodle or spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Cut and clean meat with additional lime/lemon or vinegar. Rinse with cold water, pat dry and add to pot. In same pot, add reserved lime/lemon juice, scallions, whole hot pepper, garlic, onion, thyme, parsley, black pepper and salt. Mix all ingredients together. Place in a covered bowl and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour or overnight for flavor enhancement.
- On medium high heat, bring meat to a boil. Add water when marinade has almost evaporated and let slowly cook. Check meat occasionally and add more water when necessary and until meat is fully cooked. (More water is only necessary depending on the cut and size of meat; be careful with the whole pepper so it does not burst). When cooked, remove pot of meat from heat and set aside.
- In a large stockpot, add squash and cover with water and let cook until softened over medium high heat on stove. Make sure the pot is covered for faster cooking. Once the squash pieces are cooked, let cool for 5 minutes and purée with hand blender or regular blender and set aside. You may have to strain the mixture for a smoother soup. Mixture can stay in stockpot for easy use later on.
- In a stockpot, add oil, leek, onion, and celery stalks and let cook for 5 minutes while stirring. Add pumpkin puree and bring to a boil. Add parsnips, turnips, carrots, cabbage, and cloves. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes. Add pasta and potatoes and continue to boil for another 20 to 30 minutes until all ingredients are cooked. Add meat with strained liquid in the last 10 minutes of cooking with butter; add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with bread if preferred.