This post it the first in a series that will appear here. I’ll–or someone will–cook each recipe in Cooking with Your Friends, the cookbook compiled by the Friends of the Haverford Township Free Library, and review it.

The raw materials; too dark this evening to capture the soup. Consider this a place holder.

Here’s what clinched it: “The trick is to realize it is really hard to ruin squash soup.” Those reassuring words from Janet Chrzan, nutritional anthropologist, Library Friend, and founder of the Oakmont Farmer’s Market, prompted me to take on her recipe for pumpkin soup.

It seemed only natural that I should buy the pumpkin at the Farmer’s Market, so I did. (I am kicking myself for not writing down the grower’s name.)

The first step, to skin and cube the pumpkin, reminded me why I don’t cook with pumpkin more often. It’s hard work, though once I switched to this style vegetable peeler, the rind came off more easily. The soup comes together effortlessly after that. Once it was cooked, I used an immersion blender to smooth the soup, though that step is optional. There’s no real measurement for the seasonings, and I was a bit worried after I threw in a palmful of chili powder, which is my customary definition of “to taste.” Would it overwhelm the pumpkin?

It was delicious! My husband found it to be a nice warming fall soup, and said the spices contrast with and set off the natural flavors of the pumpkin. I loved the surprise of the coconut milk under the flavors of pumpkin and chili.

Janet reports that the soup “has taken on more of a Southeast Asian tone,” and that was my cue for building dinner around this soup. I went with a “pan-Asian” theme and had edamame and store-bought shu mai and potstickers  to round out the meal.

With Halloween around the corner, it’s the perfect time of year for pumpkin soup. Try this recipe.

Cooking With Your Friends: Pumpkin Soup
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