The first time I attempted to make Haitian food, it was in a small apartment that my then boyfriend (now husband – Louben) was renting…
The kitchen was tiny with little room to work, but I wanted to do something special for him to celebrate his Haitian roots! So, I found a random recipe online and made Vegetable Legume – an eggplant stew that requires vegetables to stew for what seems like hours. This recipe used vegetables that I had never heard of, but I did my best to make this dish! A little stirring there, a little stewing here…
Turns out, that recipe (or my cooking) was a disaster! The vegetables stuck to the bottom of the pot, the flavor of burntness overwhelmed the dish and needless to say, I haven’t tried to make it again.
With that being said, I have fallen in love with Haitian food. You may have seen my stories or highlights on Instagram where I want to share all the Haitian food deliciousness! From plant-based dishes like Sos Pwa Nwa (black bean sauce), plantains and rice to fish stews and Pikliz (pickled vegetable relish)… I can’t get enough!
So when the opportunity arose to attend a Haitian cooking class to make Soup Joumou (a squash soup that celebrates Haiti’s independence), I signed right up!
The cooking class was hosted by Chef Don Berto, the owner of Port-au-Prince Haitian Cuisine – a restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland (side note: if you ever get the opportunity to visit – or go to any Haitian restaurant for that matter – you won’t regret it!).
My biggest takeaway from the class is that professional chefs DO NOT MEASURE ingredients – or at least Don Berto didn’t, haha. So I made ample notes and tested this Haitian Soup Joumou at home… my husband loves it! And I know you will too. Get the recipe below…
SOUP JOUMOU (5-6 servings)
- ½ small green cabbage
- ½ large sweet onion
- 3 extra large carrots (peeled and chopped into large bite-size chunks)
- 2 cups celery (chopped)
- 2 leeks (white parts and some green parts – sliced)
- 2 cups turnips (about 3 whole small turnips; peel and chop into large chunks)
- 2 habanero peppers (keep whole – these are just for flavor)
- 2-3 tbsp. Herbs de Provence (I used an herb blend with lavender)
- Black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1/4 tbsp olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot
- 2 butternut squashes (butternut squash and/or Kabucha; peel, and chop into large chunks)*
- 1 ¼ cup dry penne pasta (I use 100% whole wheat for more fiber)
- Fresh Thyme
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Cilantro
- Fresh Lemon juice to taste
- In a large pot over medium heat, add ¼ cup oil with garlic and onions, leeks, celery, a large pinch of salt and some pepper.
- When the onions become fragrant, add the carrots, turnips and 1 habanero (keep the habanero whole; you’ll remove it later so that it doesn’t break open). Add another pinch of salt and pepper as the mixture sautés.
- Meanwhile, add the cubed squash to another large pot. Fill the pot with water; add enough to barely cover the squash. Add salt and bring to a boil until softened. Then remove from heat. Transfer the softened squash to a blender; blend until thick and creamy with the water it was boiled in (I ended up using all my boiled water to blend).
- Add the blender full of creamy squash to the pot with sautéed vegetables. Stir. Then add the Herbs de Provence. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then add the cabbage. Stir.
- Tie the herbs (thyme, cilantro and parsley) together with string. Add the tied herbs and the second habanero to the soup. Cover and let the soup come to a boil for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
- When the vegetables are nearly tender and the soup is of good flavor, add the pasta. Boil for 10-12 minutes more or until the pasta is tender. When the pasta is cooked, juice ½ lemon into the soup. Add more salt, pepper and herbs to taste. Enjoy!
*To easily peel and cut your squash, I highly recommend you microwave the whole squash for a few minutes until the skin is a little tender.
Want to try another veggie dense soup? Try the most popular recipe on our site: Vegetable Ramen Noodle Soup!