Soup Joumou by Lywana Dorzilor

By February 8, 2018May 10th, 2024Archive

This Month’s Recipe: Soup Joumou

This winter, we had the pleasure of hosting Lywana Dorzilor as an intern at The Sylvia Center. Lywana, a junior at City College of New York majoring in International Studies and History, was born in Saint Marc, Haiti and grew up in Harlem, New York. During her time as an intern, she contributed countless hours of research and new ideas, even organizing data like a pro.  In addition to these intern duties, she also shared her favorite things to cook with her family and favorite places to eat around New York City.

Lywana described one of her favorite dishes as Soup Joumou because it is “a soup that is so important — it is supposed to bring good luck for the new year.”  Tradition holds that Soup Joumou is usually eaten at the beginning of the new year as an historical tribute to Haitian independence in 1804. Like many Haitian families in the states, the tradition continues with each new generation creating their own unique version.  The soup is meant to be thick (almost like a stew) and flavorful with squash, carrots and other vegetables.  As Lywana says, “It’s a very special dish to share with others.”  It is a celebration of the rich and layered experiences of her family, as it is straight from her family’s kitchen.

Thank you Lywana for sharing this with us!


Soup Joumou

by Lywana Dorzilor, Intern at The Sylvia Center



1lb of beef

1/2 cup of oil

Water as needed

1 large scallion, diced

4-5 potatoes, peeled and chopped

4-5 malanga (taro), peeled and chopped

2 butternut squash or one medium pumpkin (or half of a large pumpkin), peeled and chopped

3 turnips, peeled and chopped

1 stalk of celery, chopped

3-4 medium carrots, chopped

Half a box of penne pasta (or combination of spaghetti, linguine and penne)

4 parsley sprigs

1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)

Meat seasoning spices:

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp thyme

2 shallots, diced

1 tsp Adobo® seasoning salt

1 Maggi® chicken bouillon cubes

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp lime juice



1. Add four tablespoons of oil to a heated pot. Add diced scallions.

2. Sauté the meat for about one minute in the heated pot. Make sure to lower the fire when done.

3. Peel and cut the potato, malanga, carrots, and turnip into 3 to 4 pieces and put into pot with the meat. Add a little water and cover the pot. Increase the heat and cook for 10-15 min.

4. In a separate pot cook the pumpkin or squash with a small amount of water for about 15 min. Steam until cooked thoroughly.

5. Remove pumpkin or squash from the pot. Use some of the cooking water to blend or mash into a purée.

6. Mix boiled water (as needed) or water left from the steamed pumpkin/squash with the purée until you have a thick stock.

7. Add parsley and thyme to the purée.

8. Add uncooked pasta or spaghetti to meat and vegetables for about 5 min, then add the pumpkin/squash purée.

9. Add the purée to the meat and vegetable mix.

10. Let it all cook for about 15-30 min.

Taste soup and add salt and pepper as needed.