Haitian squash soup
It's always a tradition for Haitians around the world to savor squash soup (soup joumou in Creole), every January 1st in order to start a prosperous New Year and to commemorate Haiti's Independence Day. Having this delicious soup on New Year's Day is heavily rooted in our culture and our history.
During slavery, only the French colonists were able to drink this delicious and aromatic meal on special occasions while slaves were to drink simple bread soup. Then, after a savage13-year struggle against the French rules, on January 1st 1804, the slaves celebrated their victory in Gonaives as Haiti became the world's first independent black republic. Therefore, a huge pot of squash soup was concocted, and everyone present was served a bowl to show that we, as African descents, could unite and produce extraordinary deeds.
What better way to celebrate than with the very soup the slaves had been forbidden to eat, compared to one ounce of salted meat or fish, one bottle of lemonade or even bread soup. The traditional squash soup along with the celebration of Haiti's independence is a great symbol. A special communion to forever forge the bonds of brotherhood and commit to a bright national future. No wonder this soup has become the touchstone of Haiti's fervent wish for peace and freedom.
On January 1st, Haitians around the world make squash soup, drink it and share it precisely to remember the past and to hope for the future. Others yet said, it's a good luck charm for the new year to cleanse and purify a man or woman's soul and make them prophesy.
So every time we drink this fabulous stuffed squash soup with an opulence of meat and vegetable on January 1st, it reminds us of the commitment of the slaves towards peace, unity, brotherhood, freedom and hope for the future. A beacon that should forever shine through Haiti's difficult times and continuing fight to lift up Haiti and make it highly progressive and prosperous.
- 1 lb beef stew meat
- 2 lbs joumou (squash)
- 1 lb chicken
- celery leaves
- 1 lb cabbage
- 3 large carrots
- 1 onion
- 6 medium potatoes
- 3 cloves
- ¼ qt. water
- 3 medium sized turnips
- 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
- 1 hot pimento, whole with stem
- ¼ lb vermicelli
- Use a large kettle to boil the beef and the chicken.
- Remove froth.
- When the meat begins to be tender add all vegetables.
- Continue boiling until meat is tender and vegetables are cooked (½ hour).
- Turn off the heat and let cool.
- Cube the meat and strain the vegetables through a fine sieve.
- Return cubed meat and liquid to kettle and bring to boil.
- Add the pimento, being careful not to break or puncture it.
- Simmer until vermicelli is cooked.