Spicy Soup Joumou

By Esther Boateng

Soup Joumou is a wonderfully spicy soup Haitians make on New Year’s Day. After Haiti gained independence from France in 1804, it became customary for Haitians to consume this spicy concoction of meat, vegetables, and pasta on January 1st to celebrate their freedom. I won’t dwell too much on the rich history associated with this soup, except to say that this recipe deserves to take center stage on your dining room table on New Year’s Day. With that said, dedicate all your love and attention to the preparation of this meal, which I hope you will share with those closest to you.

If your taste buds have been asleep all year, this soup will wake them up in a heartbeat; in fact, it will make them jump with joy, and with good reason; it’s simply delicious. Although the list of ingredients may look daunting, it’s worth including as many items as you see fit; now is not the time to be frugal with your pennies or your penne pasta.

Soup Joumou is incredibly versatile, and ridiculously easy to customize to suit any palate. You can increase the nutrients, and vary the flavor with your choice of vegetables, vegetable powders, and seasonings. It’s also a good way to incorporate vegetables you might not consume on a regular basis, due to the common out-of-sight-out-of-mind mindset. 

If you are not keen on the vegetables in the recommended ingredients list, swap them with ones that are favorites within your family. Whichever way you choose to execute this recipe, try not to skip on two of the most essential ingredients, the squash and habanero pepper, which add character to this dish. If you have a low tolerance to spicy food, use less than a quarter of the habanero, and adjust the pepper to suit your taste, with the Threefold Blend Spicy as you cook. If you go overboard on the pepper by mistake, add more coconut milk or some cream to dilute the heat.

I am not a huge fan of New Year resolutions, mostly because they rarely last more than a few weeks; however, next year, I will set myself a task, and try to eat all the colors of the rainbow every day. I know, a tall order, but not impossible, especially with recipes like this, which can be eaten any time, not just on New Year’s Day.

Bon appetite!

Soup Joumou

Marinade for Meat

1/2 medium onion

1/2 green bell pepper

1/2 red bell pepper

1/2 yellow/orange bell pepper (optional)

1/2 celery stem

3 garlic cloves

1/4 or 1/2 habanero pepper

3-4 Flat-leaf parsley (leaves and tender stems only)

2 Tsp. oil

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup orange or lemon juice

1/4 cup filtered water (optional)

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. coconut aminos (optional)

2 Tbsp. worcester sauce (optional)


Roasted Vegetables

2 Tbsp. oil

1 squash (seeded)

3-5 sprigs of thyme or a tablespoon of dried thyme

Several fresh oregano leaves or a tablespoon of dried oregano

3-5 garlic cloves, squashed

1/2 green bell pepper

1/2 red bell pepper

1/2 yellow/orange bell pepper (optional)

1 small turnip

1/2 medium onion

1/2 celery stem

2 carrots

Salt and pepper



1 lb. stew lamb or grass-fed beef

3-5 cups bone broth

2 Tbsp. oil

1 tsp. Dr. Cowan’s Threefold Blend Powder (Spicy)

1 Tbsp. Dr. Cowan’s Garden Squash Powder

1 tsp. Dr. Cowan’s Garden Parsnip Powder

1 tsp. Dr. Cowan’s Garden Carrot Powder

1 tsp. Dr. Cowan’s Burdock Root Powder

1 tsp. Dr. Cowan’s Wild Ramp Powder

Dr. Cowan’s Garden Pepper Salt to taste

Salt to taste

1 leek

2 scallions

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 can (13.5 fluid oz.) coconut milk (includes coconut cream and clear coconut water)

1/2 cup penne pasta per person or pasta of choice

3-5 sprigs of thyme

5-10 tarragon leaves chopped

3-5 basil leaves

2-4 Tbsp. coconut aminos (optional)

2-4 Tbsp. worcester sauce (optional)

1 tbsp. maple syrup or sweetener of choice (optional)

1/4 cup lime juice

Instructions for Marinade

  1. Peel the garlic and gently press it with the flat side of a knife. Let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare the other vegetables.
  2. Peel and chop the onion.
  3. Chop the bell peppers and celery stem.
  4. Squeeze the juice from the citrus fruits.
  5. Carefully remove the seeds from the habanero pepper and randomly chop it. Wash your hands immediately.
  6. Rinse the parsley leaves and remove any long or hard stems, and then chop it.
  7. Add the onion, bell peppers, celery, garlic, habanero, parsley, oil, and citrus juice and salt to a food processor, and blend for 10-15 seconds or until smooth. Add water if needed.
  8. If using Coconut Aminos and Worcester Sauce, add them now.
  9. Place your meat in a bowl and pour the marinade over the meat.
  10. Place the marinated meat in the fridge overnight, or at least 30 minutes.


If you use vegetables that hold a lot of water, you may only need to add a small amount of liquid to the food processor, if any at all.

If you find you have a considerable amount of marinade left over after you have covered the meat, feel free to save the rest for when you prepare the soup. 

Instructions for Roasted Vegetables 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel the garlic and gently press it with the flat side of a knife. Let it sit for a few minutes while you prepare the other vegetables.
  3. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Drizzle oil over the split squash.
  4. Remove the thyme leaves from the stem.
  5. Randomly chop the oregano.
  6. Sprinkle thyme, oregano, and a pinch of salt over the squash.
  7. Randomly chop the bell peppers.
  8. Peel and dice the turnip.
  9. Peel and dice the onion into large chunks.
  10. Rinse the celery thoroughly to remove unwanted debris.
  11. Randomly chop the celery stem into large chunks.
  12. Peel and dice the carrots.
  13. Place all vegetables on a sheet of greaseproof paper (parchment), drizzle oil or melted butter over the vegetables, sprinkle a dash of salt or pepper, and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked.
  14. Remove from the oven and set aside.


If you use a lot of different vegetables, be mindful of the different cooking times. To avoid overcooking certain vegetables, you can arrange them in sections: all the carrots together, all the turnips together, and so on. This gives you a chance to easily remove any vegetables from the oven that have a shorter roasting time, such as the garlic.

Instructions for Soup

  1. Remove the marinated meat from the fridge.
  2. Place the meat and the marinade in a large pot, and add 1 cup of bone broth or stock. Add the creamy top part of the coconut milk to the meat, reserving the clear coconut water; cover the pot with the lid, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  3. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, while stirring occasionally for roughly 45 minutes, or until the meat is tender. If you find the liquid evaporates quickly, top up with the leftover marinade and/or more liquid.
  4. While you are waiting for the meat to tenderize, take the roasted squash, which should be cool enough to handle, and gently scoop out the pulp with a spoon; avoid tearing the paper-thin skin. When you have scooped as much as possible, discard the skin.
  5. Put the squash in a food processor, add roughly 1/4 or 1/2 a cup of the clear coconut water (from the can of coconut milk), and blend for about 10 seconds or until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Add the remainder of the marinade to the pot of meat, if you haven’t already done so. Add the leek, scallions, and roasted vegetables, including any juices from the greaseproof paper.
  7. Add the vegetable powders and seasonings: threefold spicy blend, squash, parsnip, carrot, burdock root, wild ramp, pepper salt, salt, garlic, onion, thyme, tarragon, basil leaves, and optional coconut aminos, worcester sauce, 1/4 cup of lime juice and optional sweetener, to suit your taste. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  8. Reduce the heat, and gently simmer for another 45 minutes. Adjust the taste with any of the aforementioned seasonings, as you check it occasionally.
  9. Add pasta during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. When you are satisfied with the consistency and taste, turn it off, and serve immediately. 


I use the creamy top part of the coconut milk for the meat mixture, and the clear liquid part of the coconut milk for blending the squash.

If you enjoy this soup over a couple of days, initially cook the pasta briefly. When you re-heat the soup, the pasta will continue to cook, and it may end up overly mushy, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and cook it more al dente initially.