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Soup Joumou

Chef Jessica Harris cooking up Soupe Joumou, a hearty stew cooked with pumpkin or winter squash, carrots, meat and potatoes  native to Haitian cuisine.
December 11, 2021, Brooklyn, New York: Chef Jessica Harris cooking up Soupe Joumou, a hearty stew cooked with pumpkin or winter squash, carrots, meat and potatoes native to Haitian cuisine.Lanna Apisukh for TODAY

Chef notes

In recognition of the triumph of the Haitian Revolution, the resiliency of the Haitian ancestors, and the steadfastness of the Haitian people, soupe joumou is consumed on Jan. 1 by Haitians wherever they are in the world.

Technique tip: Add cold water as needed if the soup gets too thick.


Pikliz (makes about 1 quart)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrot
  • 1 small green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 habanero chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • cups cider vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
Soupe Joumou
  • 2 pounds West Indian cooking pumpkins, peeled and cut into large chunks, or 1 (29-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 pounds beef neck bones
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 chives, minced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pikliz (recipe above)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 leek, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 head medium-sized cabbage, cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup broken spaghetti
  • 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, pricked with a fork


For the pikliz:


In a large, non-reactive bowl, mix all ingredients until well-combined.


Pack the vegetables into a quart-sized jar and cover with the liquid, pressing down to make sure that all is submerged.


Cover with a lid and refrigerate for at least 3 days before using.


Store in the refrigerator for up to 30 days.

For soup joumou:


Place the pumpkin in a saucepan with 6 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until very fork-tender, about 1 hour. (If you're using pumpkin puree, you can skip steps 1 and 2).


Strain and mash with a potato masher or in a food processor until smooth; refrigerate until ready to use.


Meanwhile, clean the beef neck bones with cold water and pat dry.


Rub the neck bones with the lime pieces and place in a large bowl or large zip-top bag.


Add the scallions, onion, garlic, shallot, chives, green pepper, pikliz, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and mix to combine; marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.


In a large Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat.


Remove the neck bones from the marinade and shake off any excess marinade.


Sear the beef neck bones until browned, in batches, for 3 to 4 minutes per side.


Return all the meat to the Dutch oven and add the marinade ingredients and 1 cup of cold water.


Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 40 minutes.


Add the pumpkin puree and 5 to 6 cups of cold water, and mix to combine. The mixture should be as thick as heavy cream.


Return to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes.


Add the celery, carrots, leek, cabbage and cloves and cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes.


Add the potatoes, spaghetti and Scotch bonnet and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.