Soup and Bread

Soupe Joumou (Haitian Independence Soup)


From Chantal Powell

Serves 8

Chantal brought this celebratory Haitian soup, which is eaten on New Year’s Day in Haiti – and in Haitian communities across the world – to celebrate the day that country won its independence and became the world’s first free black republic. The measurements she provided were very loose, and she apologized for her vagueness, but when I tried to cook some up at home, the soup came together beautifully. (It’s traditionally made with boiled beef, but Chantal is a vegetarian, so we’ve included the meat as an option only.) It’s very important to chop the vegetables quite small, she says, but it’s the cilantro that’s key to the soup’s success, so don’t be shy. “That,” she says, “is where the whole taste is sitting.”


1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
3 ribs celery, small dice
1 turnip, peeled and diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cube vegetable bouillon
1 pound stew beef, cooked and shredded (optional)


In large pot, cover squash with water, add sugar, and bring to a boil. Let simmer until squash is quite soft, then blend into a smooth puree. Add more water if it gets too thick.

Chop vegetables very small — into ½” bits or so. In a large stock pot, sauté onion, carrot, and celery until soft. Then add turnip and potato (if desired), and a dash or two of salt and pepper. Sauté another few minutes, then add garlic and reduce heat. Simmer over low heat until garlic is translucent.

Pour squash puree into pot, adding more water to achieve desired consistency, and then add cilantro, more salt and pepper, and bouillon cube. Add meat now if desired. Bring to a rolling boil for 5 minutes, then reduce heat and “let it go.” The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.

Chantal Powell is from Haiti and learned to cook from her mom, who ran a restaurant and hospitality school. She has been in Chicago for ten years. She hopes you enjoy this soup from her country.



Posted: Tuesday Nov 29,2016 08:28 AM In Uncategorized

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