A nice start to a meal.

3  1/2 c cooked, mashed pumpkin
4 c water or broth
1 c half and half, or whole milk; or suitable substitute
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c maple syrup
4 T butter, divided
1/2 t Chinese five-spice powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 lb  mushrooms, stemmed and thickly sliced , optional

1. Combine pumpkin, water or broth, half and half or milk, and garlic in a large soup pot. Bring to a simmer, whisking often. Stir in the maple syrup, 2 T of the butter, and the five-spice powder. Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking often. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 T of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Pour soup into bowls, top with mushrooms; serve.