North African Pumpkin Soup

Serves 8-10

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, sliced
11⁄2 lbs. peeled pumpkin cubes (or other winter squash)
11⁄2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1⁄4 tsp. ground cardamom seeds
1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. harissa (or other hot sauce)
1 Tbs. grated ginger
1 tsp. fine sea salt
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 Tbs. chopped cilantro leaves

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the onion and pumpkin, and cook over moderate heat for 5 or 6 minutes, stirring as needed.

Add the spices to the onion and squash, along with the hot sauce, ginger, salt and 1⁄2 cup of the stock. Continue to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin is soft. Puree the soup through a coarse sieve, food processor or blender. Return the soup to the pot, and taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary. Serve warm and garnish each serving with cilantro.
(Rebecca Ets-Hokin)