Try These Recipes from “We Love a Soup” Cookbook

Vintage journal-style soup cookbook by The Hunt Room’s April Burke is charm in a bowl
winter soups

Few foods are more shareable than a big pot of soup made from scratch with fresh ingredients and lots of love. And April Burke, Kitchen Supervisor for The Hunt Room at The Cavalier Hotel, knows that as well as anyone. That’s because she’s been the culinary mastermind behind The Hunt Room’s soup of the day since it opened five years ago.

Yet, when it came to the creative process for her recently released cookbook inspired by those soups, sharing was the furthest thing from her mind. After being encouraged by patrons and staff to collect her recipes in a book, Burke told her boyfriend and the restaurant’s manager and owner about the project and literally no one else, not even her tightknit, supportive family.

Instead, she decided to put her nose to the grindstone…or ladle to the pot, so to speak…and forced herself to say “no thanks” to social engagements in favor of heading home after long restaurant shifts to work on the self-published cookbook, a charmingly designed and creatively curated collection of soup recipes in a journal-style, hardback titled We Love a Soup.

All that hard work was worth it because the book has been met with the sort of warm reception that is befitting a great bowl of soup. “The feedback has been awesome,” Burke says. “I wasn’t expecting this at all. I mean, this was a passion project for me.”

We Love a Soup contains 28 soup recipes running the gamut from comfort food classics like Broccoli Sharp Cheddar, Italian Wedding, Loaded Baked Potato and Tomato Basil to hearty game-centric stews like Boar Chili and Venison Stew, homages to The Hunt Room’s historic origins as a gathering place for hunting parties. You’ll also find lighter soups like her Coconut, Carrot and Ginger, fall favorites like Butternut, and a creamy, spicy twist on one of Coastal Virginia’s most beloved seafood ingredients, Corn and Crab with Chili Oil Drizzle, with a colorful flourish for presentation.

We Love a Soup by April Burke
April Burke with a copy of We Love a Soup

We Love a Soup also features simple vintage-inspired, black-and-white illustrations, kitchen tools and tips, health benefits of ingredients, a little history, a few garnish recipes, a selection of dessert recipes —”Sneaking in Some Sweets,” as Burke calls it—and a dedication to the cook’s inspiration, her Grandma Betty. The book’s decorative, botanical cover illustration is by Daniella King, while its compact size, aesthetically pleasing design and tactile feel make you want to hold it in your hand, pop it in your bag and head over to a friend’s house who loves to cook so you can whip up a soup together and share it along with a good glass of craft beer.

Get a Copy of We Love a Soup

We Love a Soup retails for $25, makes a great gift and is available on Amazon.com as well as at the following locations locally: The Hunt Room gift shop, Cavalier Hotel front desk, all nine TASTE locations, Apricot Lane Boutique, Coastal Cattle, Cromwell’s Produce, The Food Temptress inside the Painted Tree Boutiques, Hunt Club Farm, Kitchen Barn, Kitsch, Lineage Goods (Richmond and Harrisonburg), Lola Boutique, VA Goods in Selden Market, Virginia Cheese Co., Golden Hour Boutique, Moosewood Creek Primitives at the Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market, and The Wandering Petal.

Here, we share two recipes from We Love a Soup, © 2023 April Burke.

Photos By Alex Holdeman and David Uhrin

Carrot, Coconut and Ginger Soup
Carrot, Coconut and Ginger Soup

CARROT, COCONUT & GINGER SOUP

Ingredients:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium white onion, medium diced
4 12-ounce cans of coconut milk
10 fresh sage leaves
6 garlic cloves
½ tbsp salt, to taste
½ tbsp pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp brown sugar

Method:
In a medium bowl, mix carrots, onions, garlic, oil, salt and pepper.
Spread vegetables out on a baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees for 45 minutes until vegetables have browned.
In a 6-quart stockpot on medium heat, add roasted vegetables, vegetable stock, sage, coconut milk, ginger, cinnamon stick and brown sugar.
Let simmer for about 1 hour, or until reduced by about ¼.
Remove sage leaves and cinnamon stick.
Puree in blender and enjoy.


CORN AND CRAB SOUP WITH CHILI OIL DRIZZLE

Crab and Corn Soup (photo at top)

Ingredients:
6 fresh cans of corn on cob, in husks
1 medium white onion
½ cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp minced garlic/garlic puree
6 cups chicken stock
2 tsp sugar
1 lb crabmeat
1 cup heavy cream or half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Roast corn (with husks) in oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until husks start to brown. Steaming the corn in its own husk.
After corn has cooked, peel off husks
and cut off kernels, set aside.
In a 6-quart stockpot on medium heat,
melt butter.
Add onion and garlic, sauté until
onions are translucent.
Add chicken stock, corn and sugar.
Simmer on low to medium heat for
about one hour.
Puree in blender and strain with mesh strainer. This is to remove tough pieces of corn skin.
Pour soup back into pot, add cream.
Stir in crabmeat and serve with Chili Infused Oil.

Yields 6 servings.


Chili Infused Oil

Ingredients:
½ cup olive oil
3 tbsp dried chili flakes *

Method:
In a small saucepan, on low heat, combine oil and dried chili flakes. Cook for about 5-7 minutes or until oil turns a deep red. Keep heat low, if heated too fast chili flakes will burn quickly. Drizzle a small amount oil on soup (to taste) when served. The longer the oil is stored with the chilis the spicier it will be!

We Love a Soup by April Burke
We Love a Soup by April Burke

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