Soupe Joumou (Pumpkin Soup) (Haiti) | Wine Enthusiast
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Soupe Joumou (Pumpkin Soup) (Haiti)

Haiti became the second independent country in the Americas (in 1804, after the U.S.), and since then has maintained a distinct and complex cuisine, influenced by African, Spanish, French and native Taíno cultures. Soupe Joumou is commonly served on Independence Day, January 1.


2 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers
2 scallions, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt, plus additional to taste
1 pound beef stew meat (like chuck), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
6 cups kabocha or pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
½ cabbage, thickly sliced
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 medium white sweet potatoes
6 cloves
Black pepper, to taste
Lime wedges (for serving)
Bread (for serving)


Deseed and mince 1 habanero pepper, then combine with the scallions, garlic, vinegar, pepper and 1 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl. Add beef and coat with mixture. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (preferably 8 hours or longer).

In large stockpot over medium heat, add 3 cups water. Add meat with all the marinade, onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another stockpot, cover squash with cold water. Bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving cooking water. In blender, purée squash with 2 cups cooking water.

Add squash purée to meat. Bring to boil. Add cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Stud the second (whole) habanero with the cloves and add it to the pot. Reduce heat, and cook uncovered until vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove habanero, and add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with lime wedges and bread for dipping. Serves 4–6.

Pair It

Kenwood 2017 Chardonnay (Sonoma County). Bold Chardonnays are terrific with creamy squash soups, and this wine shows light, well-strung, tangy acidity that contrasts the rich beef and the habanero’s fruity spice. Sour lemon, apple, flint and ginger combine on the palate for an elegant and widely appealing experience.

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