Random Recipe #10: Moro Soup

A note to Antipodean readers before we begin: I’m sorry if you were enticed here by the ‘Moro Soup’ heading. This is not a post about turning the iconic chocolate bar, apparently beloved by triathletes (if you believe the ad campaigns), into a soup. Stop reading now before you get disappointed.

For everyone else, the real title should be ‘Hassan’s celery and white bean soup with tomato and caraway’. It’s from Moro East, the lovely book by Sam and Sam Clark of Moro restaurant fame about their East End allotment, with recipes from fellow allotment holders interspersed with their own creations. It’s particularly poignant now as the allotment has been bulldozed in the name of the 2012 London Olympics. Perhaps athletes do exist on chocolate bars after all.

Hassan’s celery and white bean soup with tomato and caraway
The book was my choice for Random Recipes #10, brought to you by Belleau Kitchen AND Jac of Tinned Tomatoes, who hosts a monthly soup challenge called No Croutons Required. Not only does this deliciously rustic soup fit the NCR vegetarian criteria, but it just happened to use the huge bunch of celery and masses of spring onions in my fridge. I took a few shortcuts along the way – I used two tins of cannellini beans rather than soaking and cooking my own, plus I used a tin of tomatoes rather than “500g of flavoursome fresh tomatoes”, as the latter are pretty thin on the ground here at present.
However I faithfully followed the recipe for DIY celery salt, which is completely addictive. Even if you’re not in the mood for soup, you’ve got to try this.

250g dried cannellini beans, soaked in cold water overnight, then drained and cooked in fresh water for about an hour, or until tender (or two tins of beans, drained and rinsed)
10 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large head of celery, trimmed of roots but including leaves, sliced into 2cm chunks
8 spring onions, roots trimed but including green tops, sliced into 1cm chunks
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1tsp caraway seeds
500g fresh tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped (or 1 440g tin)
1tsp celery salt (recipe follows)

To serve:
extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
a small bunch of rocket
black olives
Turkish bread
Celery salt

Heat six tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan and add the celery. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, then add the spring onions, garlic, caraway and a pinch of salt. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to caramelise. Add the tomatoes and celery salt and cook for a further five minutes.
Add the beans and either 250ml of their cooking liquid or water, plus the remaining four tablespoons of olive oil. Bring to a simmer, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook for another five minutes. Check the seasoning and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of celery salt. Rocket, spring onions, black olives and Turkish bread are suggested accompaniments. Makes enough for four.

DIY Celery Salt
Take a handful of green celery leaves and put them on a baking tray. Dry them in a low-medium oven until completely dry but not scorched (takes about 10 minutes). Crumble to a powder with your fingers, then mix with equal parts of flaky (eg Marlborough or Maldon) salt.



  1. November 14, 2011 / 6:05 pm

    wow, your soup is almost identical to my soup plus or minus a few ingredients and the method (so everything, in fact)… I love the Moro book, I have a much loved copy myself, so I can imagine this tastes wonderful!… thanks so much for taking part this month honey pie xx

  2. November 14, 2011 / 11:05 pm

    I really enjoy Moro recipes but I had no idea about the choc bar. I've just got to try the celery salt. I've tried to get excited about the Olympics but I find I'm more interested in allotments these days.

  3. November 15, 2011 / 12:55 am

    Yes please more of MORO:)

  4. November 15, 2011 / 7:11 am

    "Flavoursome fresh tomatoes" – no chance of those now until next summer 🙁 This soup sounds delicious, just the sort of thing I like on a cold evening. Shockingly I don't have any of the Moro books, off to edit my Amazon wishlist right now!

  5. November 15, 2011 / 9:22 am

    mmm…this looks lovely Lucy…I must remember to join in the challenge too. Your post is so funny, you always make me giggle…

    After reading your post about soba noodles a couple of days ago I couldn't resist buying some when I spotted a packet in my local food store…what a great ingredient…thanks for directing me to them…

  6. November 15, 2011 / 5:21 pm

    Ohhhhh, tasty! I really have to have a look at the Moro cookbooks. I have passed them by so far. This looks so good. Thanks for entering it 🙂

  7. November 15, 2011 / 7:09 pm

    I keep meaning to do up some celery salt every time I trim the leaves off celery… they keep going in the freezer to use for making stock, but this time (I type, as I stare across the room at some celery tops) I'll get onto it I think! Thanks for the remimder.

    And the soup looks delicious – I've been eyeing up the Moro cookbooks for a while 🙂

  8. November 16, 2011 / 9:05 am

    I admit I did read this expecting a chocolate bar. But this was a good thing to find. I love these kind of throw it all in soups!

  9. November 19, 2011 / 3:10 pm

    The soup looks delicious. I've been meaning to try Moro for ages but still haven't got around to trying it out. Maybe I should just get the cookbook

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