Pumpkin – Beef Soup Recipe

Every time I prepare beef soup I am flooded with childhood memories  of growing up in Sheffield, Jamaica. Memories of me trekking to the butcher shop(s) on Friday afternoon to buy meats, including soup bones for Saturday soup. In our small town that meant 3 stops. There was Miss Ellen’s slaughterhouse for tripe and cow skin. Mas Cornie’s (everyone in the islands has an alternate name)  butcher shop for pork. And my personal favorite Mas Andrew’s shop for beef. Once the meat and other groceries were secured it was time to head home.

beef-chunks-and-ribs-for-soup

On most Saturday afternoon you could find my cousins and I under the big pear (avocado) tree in our yard waiting on the beef soup to finish. Pumpkin Beef Soup or beef soup as most Jamaicans call it is an enduring favorite for many islanders. As its name implies pumpkin beef soup is flavored with beef and pumpkin If you have ever enjoyed beef soup made with fresh, free range,  grass fed beef you can understand my sentiment.  But, you don’t need fresh organic beef to get the rich robust flavor of this favorite Caribbean soup. All you need are a couple meaty  soup bones or a few chunks of stewing beef and a couple fresh short ribs plus some calabaza squash a few veggies, some fresh herbs, plus a pack of pumpkin flavored soup mix and voila, you’re in business.

strong flavors like turnip, carrot and onion add flavor and depth to this already rich hearty soup
as with most soups, I prefer to saute the meat with fresh herbs and some of the other ingredients for a few minutes before adding water. This results in a thicker, richer, more flavorful soup.
pumpkin beef soup in the making
once the pumpkin has started dissolving, stir in the other foods and add water. Let the food cook while you prepare the dumplings.

Pumpkin – Beef Soup Recipe

  • 2 lb. soup beef (cut into small chunks)
  • short ribs/ shank/ etc.
  • 1 lg. onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¼ lb. pumpkin (Calabaza diced)
  • 2 lg carrots (sliced)
  • 2 med potatoes (diced)
  • 6 C. water
  • Dumplings
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 stalks escallion (chopped)
  • 1 pk Pumpkin Noodle soup
  1. In a large pot over medium heat; add the beef bones, onion, garlic, salt, black pepper and ½ of the diced pumpkin. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir well, cover the pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the cover, stir and add 2 cups of water. Replace the cover and let the meat cook for at least 30 minutes check for tenderness. The meat should be about halfway cooked.While the meat finishes cooking, about 30 minutes, wash and cut the vegetables. After meat cooks; add remaining vegetables and 3 cups of water. Stir well, cover and let soup cook for 15 minutes while you prepare the dumplings. After 15 minutes add the dumplings to the pot and stir.When soup begins to boil add escallion, noodle packet, thyme and pepper. Add water as desired (1-2 cups should be enough for a thick hearty broth), stir well, replace cover and let soup simmer for another 12 to 15 minutes.Stir well before serving.

Optional Ingredients
½ lb. Jamaican white yam
½ lb. Jamaican yellow yam
1 lg. turnip, diced
1 lg. cho-cho (chayote), diced
1 habanero pepper, uncut

pumpkin chart
Pumpkin beef soup can be made using a variety of pumpkins. In my experience kombucha, calabaza and butternut make great choices. Others like the American ‘Jack O’ Lantern’ tends to be watery and flavorless which results in a thin soup broth.

 

 

dumplings, fresh thyme and scallions, a pack of pumpkin noodle soup + a whole (unbroken) scotch bonnet add the finishing touch to this pot of authentic homemade Pumpkin- Beef Soup
The preparation for Pumpkin- Beef Sop is similar throughout the West Indies. The Haitian version of this soup is almost identical to the Jamaican once shown here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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