This Moroccan orzo recipe combines orzo cooked in a herby tomato sauce and rich Moroccan spiced lamb or beef. Top with minced fresh parsley (optional)! It's a recipe passed down to me from my grandma that is a family favorite for kids and adults alike.
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Moroccan recipes are known for their bold and complex flavors and this orzo recipe is no different. The orzo is boiled in a modest but addicting tomato herb broth while the meat is stewed with onions, fresh parsley, cilantro, and a blend of classic Moroccan spices.
It's one of the many family recipes that inspired me to start this blog, because I couldn't find the recipe online or in cookbooks, and just had to know how to make it for myself.
Here's everything you'll need to make this Moroccan orzo recipe:
- olive oil
- lamb or beef stew meat (cubed)
- yellow onion, minced
- chili flakes
- ground ginger
- saffron strands, bloomed with an ice cube
- bay leaves
- cilantro, minced
- parsley, minced
- can tomato sauce
See recipe card for quantities.
👩🍳 Step by Step Instructions
Sauté the meat & onion. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the stew meat and minced onion and sauté until the onion becomes translucent and the meat begins to brown and tenderize, about 15 minutes.
Season & transfer to a saucepan. Add chili flakes, salt, pepper, ginger, saffron, turmeric, bay leaves, cilantro, and parsley and mix to combine everything.
Transfer the meat and onions to a smaller saucepan and add 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, before covering and simmering on low heat while the orzo cooks.
Cook the orzo. In the same large pot where the meat cooked, add 5 cups of water, 1 can of tomato sauce, and a generous pinch of salt. Bring the liquid to a boil before adding orzo and lowering to medium low.
Cover & cook, stirring regularly until the pasta is al dente and most of the sauce is absorbed, about 9 minutes.
Serve. Add some of the orzo to a bowl and top with a few spoonfuls of the meat mixture. Enjoy!
And, of course, a knife and cutting board to mince the herbs and onion.
This dish makes delicious leftovers. I might even argue that it's better the second day, as everything has time to develop maximum flavor.
I recommend adding a splash of water to the orzo before reheating (stovetop or microwave both work).
Store leftovers in an air tight container with a lid. You can store the meat and pasta separately or together, it doesn't make a big difference. Leftovers should keep for up to 5 days in the fridge.
This recipe doesn't stand up well to freezing.
❤️ A Special Thank You
I grew up eating this dish with family in Morocco, but never at restaurants, only at my grandma's dining table.
A very special thank you goes out to my late grandmother and father for sharing this recipe with me, so that I can pass it on to all of you. This blog wouldn't exist without them.
🍽 Related Recipes
Like many Moroccan entrees, this dish is perfect for pairing with these classic Moroccan side salads: