Haitian Independence Soup

serves 4

A delicious, brothy alternative to regular winter vegetable soup and traditionally served on January 1. Grating the butternut squash will give you a pureed texture without the work, but if you’re like us and got tired of grating, cubing the squash works fine, too.

When Haiti was declared independent from France in 1804, a former slave made this soup for his countrymen and women to celebrate. Because this soup was previously only allowed for their former French masters, it was seen as a celebration of the slaves’ liberation. 

1 lb. beef sirloin, cubed
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 leek, white part only, finely chopped
¼ cup onion, chopped small
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed or grated
6 cups chicken broth
2 new potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper

Toss the sirloin with lemon juice to clean the meat. In a colander, briefly rinse the meat under cold running water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. 

Crush the garlic with the side of a knife. Sprinkle salt, parsley, onion powder, and garlic powder on top of the fresh garlic and mince to combine. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Brown the meat, then add garlic and spices. After the spices are fragrant (30 seconds) add carrots, celery, leek, onion, and squash. Soften vegetables for a few minutes, then add broth, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the meat is tender, about 35–40 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with parsley.