Comfort Food: Jamaican Pumpkin Soup

Soup is one of those dishes that is both relatively uncomplicated to make and comforting to eat. It’s really hard to mess it up, even if it takes an entire day for the soup flavours to develop just right.

Jamaican pumpkin soup was introduced to me by my mother-in-law, who is from Montego Bay. Her entire family makes this soup for special occasions, though no two people make it the same way. That’s another wonderful thing about soup: anything goes!

When my husband and I started making it at home, we also put our own spin on it. One day we made such a good pot that the recipe had to finally be written down. Since then, our recipe is preferred by my family, and I’d like to share it with you.

This version is creamy and just a tad sweet. The dumplings are dense, but delicious and are usually fought over by my family!

Jamaican Pumpkin Soup with Dumplings

Note: you will need a stick blender for this recipe

3 lbs of bone-in chicken pieces
4-6 cups Jamaican Pumpkin
1 kitchen or small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1/2 head garlic, crushed
1 tbsp thyme
1 tsp pepper
6 carrots, chopped
2-4 chicken bullion cubes
2 tbsp Cool Runnings (R) All Purpose Seasoning
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups yellow yams or Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed

1-2 scotch bonnet peppers, whole
1-2 chayote, cubed

If you’re unfamiliar with Jamaican pumpkin, it basically looks like a regular pumpkin. I find mine year-round at No Frills, with the best prices during the winter.

The All Purpose Seasoning I use comes prepared, but is made up of: “garlic, basil, coriander, parsley, thyme, herbs, spices, vegetable mix, onion, lemon powder.” I also buy this at No Frills.

Fill a stock pot half way with water. Add chicken and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam and discard. Once clear, add onion, garlic, thyme, pepper, bullion, and all purpose seasoning. Boil for 10 mins. Add pumpkin and carrots. Boil for 10-20 mins, or until the pumpkin is soft. Remove the chicken and set aside to be cubed. Use a stick blender and purée the soup. Add corn, yams/potatoes, cubed chicken and dumpling dough. Simmer for 30 mins or longer. Taste and season more, if needed. Don’t add more all purpose seasoning, because the coriander is off-putting to eat in a smooth soup.

– Don’t purée, but add chayote at the end. It’s a more broths soup and just as delicious.
– Instead of frozen corn, use chopped sections of corn on the cob. The corn absorbs the flavours and is amazing to eat!.
– You can always spice it up by adding a scotch bonnet pepper at the end. Add it whole and remove before serving.

Dumplings Recipe

1 cup flour
1/2-3/4 cup water or cooled soup broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Mix flour with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup water or soup broth and stir. Use your fingers to bring together and knead in the bowl. Add more water, if necessary. Dough should be slightly sticky. Pull off a ping pong ball sized wad of dough and roll in your hands until its as thick as your thumb. Indent the middle lightly. Drop into soup and cook for 20 minutes.

This seems like a lot, but it’s worth it. Like all soups, the longer you leave it, the better it tastes. We once had the non-puréed version at a family function where the soup pot sat on coals overnight. It was the best soup anyone had ever had.

Let me know if you try this and do share any tips or changes you made to make this yours.

Bon appetite!

They’re called “dilly dumplings” for a reason, lol


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