Soup Joumou 

This recipe for Soup Joumou, from award-winning chef Gregory Gourdet of Kann in Portland, Oregon is a  savory root vegetable and pumpkin soup that has been named a World Heritage Food by UNESCO. Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Day as a celebration of Haiti’s independence from France.  Gregory’s version is made with chicken, the amazing Haitian Spice blend epis, and finished with a bright green Parsley Oil

Serves 8 

For the Chicken

  • 4 lbs bone in, skinless, chicken thighs

  • 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • ¼ cup epis (see below)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 

Season the chicken all over with an even layer of salt and pepper. Rub the chicken with the epis.

In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil until shimmery over medium heat. Lightly sear the chicken in oil until lightly golden brown on both sides. Work in batches as necessary. Remove the seared chicken from the pot and set aside while making the soup. 

For the Soup

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1 small habanero chile, stemmed and halved

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • ¼ cup epis (see below)

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, homemade or store-bought

  • 1 large kabocha squash (about 4 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 1 cup - celery in ½” slices

  • 2 cups - carrots, sliced in 1” rounds

  • 2 cups – peeled and diced turnip in  ½”  pieces

  • 2 cups – peeled and diced Yukon potatoes, in 1” pieces

  • 2 cups -  napa cabbage cut in 2 “ pieces

  • Parsley oil (see below)

In the same pot the chicken was browned in, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat until just shimmery. 

Add the onion, garlic and habanero chile and cook until the onions begin to get translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the salt and epis. Give the mixture a good stir and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the stock and kabocha squash and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, adjusting the heat to maintain the simmer, until the squash is so tender it starts to fall apart, about 30 minutes. Let it cool slightly, then blend it in batches until smooth, about 1 minute per batch. Return the soup to the pot.

Add the remaining vegetables ( except the cabbage),  the reserved  chicken and  4 cups of water. Return the soup to a gentle simmer and cook  until the chicken and vegetables are tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Then, add the cabbage and cook further all the cabbage is tender, about 5 minutes more. 

 For the Parsley Oil

  • ½ bunch parsley

  • ½ bunch trimmed scallions, bottom 1” only

  • 1 clove roughly chopped garlic

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Zest of 1 lime

  • 1 cup avocado oil

Combine all in a blender and blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute.  

To Serve: Serve soup in bowls and garnish with a hearty drizzle of parsley oil. 

Epis - Haitian All-Purpose Marinade

Makes about 2 cups

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 tablespoon white distilled vinegar

  • 1/2  tablespoons lime juice

  • 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme 

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 2 whole cloves

  • 2 large shallots, roughly chopped

  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

  • 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, roughly chopped

  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped

  • ½ parsley bunch, bottoms trimmed, roughly chopped

  • ½ cilantro bunch, bottoms trimmed, roughly chopped

  • 3 scallions, trimmed and roughly chopped

  • 1 Scotch bonnet or habanero chile, stemmed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss very well. Working in batches if necessary, process in a food processor or pulse in a blender into a chunky puree (the consistency should be similar to that of chunky pesto).  

It keeps in the fridge for 7 days and in the freezer for up to 1 month.