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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.


On most Saturday afternoons you could find my cousins and me 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. It is a symbol of independence for Haitians. 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 of 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

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Caribbean
Servings: 8
Calories: 249kcal
Author: Sian


  • 2 lb. beef, cut into small chunks
  • 1 lg onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 med turnip, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ lb. pumpkin, diced
  • 1 lg carrot sliced
  • 2 med potatoes diced
  • 6 C water
  • Dumplings
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 stalks scallion chopped
  • 1 pk Pumpkin Noodle soup
  • 1 uncut hot pepper, optional


  • In a large pot over medium heat; add the beef bones, onion, garlic, allspice,, turnip, salt, black pepper and ½ of the diced pumpkin. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low
    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 45 to 60 minutes. Check for tenderness.
    While the meat cooks. Peel, wash, and cut the vegetables. After meat cooks; add remaining vegetables and 3 cups eough water to almost fill the pot. Stir well, cover and let soup cook for another 30 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) and stir well.
    Replace the 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


Serving: 0g | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 879mg | Potassium: 722mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 259IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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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