Spiced Pumpkin Soup

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2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 small red chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 bay leaf
1 (28 ounce) can pumpkin or a 2 pound fresh pumpkin, peeled, seeded and diced
2 ½ cups vegetable stock

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes, until slightly softened. Add the ginger, chile, cilantro, bay leaf, and pumpkin and cook for another 3 minutes.

Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, skim any foam from the surface. If using fresh pumpkin, reduce the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender. For canned pumpkin, just simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and take out the bay leaf, and let cool a little.

Transfer the soup into a food processor or with an immersion blender, process until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reheat gently, stirring. Remove from the heat and pour into warmed soup bowls. Garnish each one with a swirl of pareve cream or pareve tofutti sour cream.

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