Soupe joumou, a symbol of freedom and hope » Borneo Bulletin Online

Jenna Chrisphonte

THE WASHINGTON POST – Soupe joumou, the nationwide dish of Haiti, is a novel mix of West African bonnet peppers, New World squash and basic French pot-au-feu.

After defeating Napoleon’s military in 1803, the previously enslaved Africans in Saint-Domingue declared their independence on January 1, 1804, and based the world’s first Black republic: Haiti.

The dehumanising traits of French bondage had forbidden the enslaved Africans from having the luxurious squash soup they have been compelled to organize and serve to their captors. To claim their humanity, the brand new residents of Haiti celebrated their freedom by having fun with soupe joumou themselves. Each January 1, thousands and thousands of Haitians in Haiti and all through the Haitian diaspora enjoyment of soupe joumou with household and pals as an act of perpetual restoration, communion and hope.

In his 2019 guide, Capital and Ideology, French economist Thomas Piketty defined how France compelled Haiti to indemnify French enslavers the fashionable equal of EUR40 billion (about USD49 billion). Haitians paid France for his or her freedom from 1825 to 1950, thereby incurring a public debt. Piketty additional argued that Haiti’s compelled funds to France is the reason for up to date Haitian poverty.

The following political instability in Haiti has led to roughly two million Haitian folks residing overseas in the USA, Canada, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, France and elsewhere as in contrast with 11 million in Haiti. I’m a kind of expatriates, residing in New York.

Most Haitian immigrants discover work as residence well being aides, taxi drivers, nurses, bus drivers, mechanics, housekeepers, nannies and in a bunch of different service positions. We care for youngsters, aged dad and mom, properties and communities in all places we go. But, regardless of the place we discover ourselves on this planet on New Yr’s Day, soupe joumou is among the methods we heal and care for ourselves and our personal properties.


As a baby rising up in Brooklyn, I used to be unaware of Haitian Independence Day. All I knew was that my mom made soupe joumou each Sunday. Earlier than gentrification unleashed the Brooklyn brunch explosion, soupe joumou was the one Sunday brunch I had ever skilled. At all times savoury, piping sizzling and served with buttered toast or crusty bread, it crammed the soul.

My mom would get up early to peel and chop root greens. I keep in mind my grandmother making hers with rooster, whereas my mom diverse the soup’s protein between beef chunks, ribs and my dad and mom’ all-time favorite: cow’s ft. My siblings and I hated cow’s ft and would stage silent strikes by consuming Cap’n Crunch or Apple Jacks. We had to attract the road and let our mom know that cow’s ft have been to not be tolerated within the soupe joumou.

Thirty years later, at any time when my mom serves us from her cherished tureen, we nonetheless tacitly agree that soup joumou served with stewed beef chunks tastes finest.

Individuals speak about consolation meals and its capability to make folks really feel good. Haitians consider meals ought to be eaten to kenbe nou, or to carry us by way of.

Soupe joumou, with its deep historic symbolism, encouraging folks to recollect the previous whereas additionally welcoming the longer term.


Flavourful and comforting, soupe joumou takes a while to organize and carries huge symbolism for Haitians. It’s a conventional dish served in festive tureens on January 1 to commemorate Haitian Independence Day. It is usually a daily meal in Haitian properties on Sunday mornings, and seems on brunch menus at Haitian eating places.

No matter onions and potatoes you’ve gotten available will work for this recipe, as long as they’re a minimum of medium in dimension. You’ll want to depart the bonnet pepper uncut, in any other case the soup can simply grow to be too sizzling to eat. The pasta thickens the soup and can soften the longer it sits (if the soup is frozen the pasta will soften much more). Some Haitians relish the chance to suck out the marrow from the bones; whereas others keep away from the bones solely.

Serve with buttered toast or crusty bread.

Storage Notes: Leftover soup could be refrigerated for as much as 4 days and frozen for as much as three months. (The pasta within the soup might thicken the broth and make it cloudy, but it surely doesn’t have an effect on the flavour.)


One pound beef stew meat

One pound beef bones

Juice of three limes, divided

One medium onion, chopped

Half inexperienced bell pepper, chopped

One bunch scallions, chopped

One head garlic, peeled and cloves

Quarter cup chopped contemporary parsley

One tablespoon olive oil

12 cups plus one tablespoon water, divided, plus extra as wanted

One teaspoon kosher salt

Two tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning

One kabocha squash

Three medium potatoes, diced

Three medium carrots, chopped

Three ribs celery, chopped

One turnip, diced giant

One giant leek (white and lightweight inexperienced components solely), halved lengthwise and sliced thinly

One complete inexperienced bonnet pepper, left uncut

One rooster bouillon dice

10 sprigs contemporary thyme, tied with twine, plus extra for garnish

One small head inexperienced cabbage, minimize into one- to two-inch ribbons

Three-quarter cup penne pasta or different related pasta


In a big bowl, mix the meat and bones with two-thirds (about 4 tablespoons) of the lime juice and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse the meat and bones completely.

In a blender or meals processor, mix the onion, bell pepper, scallions, garlic, parsley, olive oil, one tablespoon of water and salt and course of till the combination resembles a paste.

In an eight-quart or bigger stockpot, mix the meat, bones and the herb paste. Add the Creole or Cajun seasoning, stir to mix and let marinate for a minimum of 10 minutes and as much as 24 hours for richer flavour (if marinating for longer than one hour, cowl and refrigerate).

With out peeling, minimize the squash in half, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Minimize the flesh into wedges to get a complete of 4 to 6 giant wedges. Place the squash wedges on prime of the meat and add six cups of water. Set the stockpot over medium-high warmth and convey to a boil. Cowl the pot and cook dinner till the squash is tender, 15 to twenty minutes. Switch the squash to a big bowl and let cool barely.

Utilizing a spoon, scoop out the squash flesh and switch it to a blender or meals processor. Add two cups of water and mix till easy. Pour the squash puree into the stockpot and stir to mix.

Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, turnip, leek and the Scotch bonnet pepper, if utilizing, adopted by 4 cups of water and the bouillon dice.

Add the thyme bouquet and stir to make sure that nothing sticks to the underside of the pot.

Deliver to a boil, then lower the warmth to medium-low so the soup is at a simmer, cowl and cook dinner for 20 minutes. Stir within the remaining lime juice. Style, and season with further salt, if desired.

If the soup will get too thick, add extra water, quarter cup at a time, till it’s the specified consistency.

Add the cabbage and pasta, stir to mix and simmer till the pasta is cooked and the cabbage is tender, one other 15 to twenty minutes.

Discard the thyme bouquet and the bonnet pepper, if utilizing, and ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with contemporary thyme, if utilizing and serve sizzling.

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