The Traditional Moroccan Dishes Martha Stewart Loves

Martha Stewart is no stranger to interacting with her fans. From chuckling with the public about the suggestion that she should date Pete Davidson to hosting fan getaways at her New York farm, Stewart enjoys sharing the love with her followers. Back in 2014, she created a thread on Reddit that allowed users to ask her anything. When asked about her go-to Moroccan foods, Stewart replied, "Bisteeya, pigeon pie, tagine of lamb with prunes, and couscous, of course."

Bisteeya, or pastilla, and pigeon pie are actually the same thing — some variations are made with pigeon meat, while others opt for different poultry selections like turkey and chicken. In Stewart's recipe for bisteeya, she details chicken thighs as the meat of choice, but she also has a recipe for a turkey rendition. Essentially, bisteeya is a meat pie with a poultry base that's brought to life with traditional Moroccan flavors like saffron, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger. Encrusted in a dough made from phyllo and accompanied with layers of sugary almonds and eggs, this is a pie that sings with notes of both savory and sweet.

Lamb tagine is a bold, robust dish forged from a richly seasoned sauce that embraces cubes of lamb — or other meats in different instances. Like bisteeya, it focuses on Moroccan essentials like cinnamon, saffron, and ginger. While the name tagine is the type of stew this recipe uses, it's also the name of the pot it's cooked in. Traditionally, you'll often see it served over couscous.

Dinner with Martha, Moroccan-style

In 2021, several years after Martha Stewart's Reddit thread, she blogged about a Moroccan dinner she hosted at her farm in New York. Sticking to her love for bisteeya, she served 17 people three variations of the dish — all made with a chicken base and an ornamental phyllo crust. She explains that most Moroccan bisteeya is decorated with dustings of powdered sugar and finished off with a design made from cinnamon (Stewart suggests using a small spoon to create thin criss-crosses of cinnamon along the top).

While she did not make a tagine sauce, she served food cooked in traditional Moroccan tagines, which allow steam from the food to rise to the top of the pot and come back into the base, making for a juicy result. Couscous was prepared to be served alongside lamb, sausage, chicken, and vegetables that were prepared in the morning to employ a technique called "mise-en-place," translating to "set in place." This method allows the cook to have all the couscous and vegetables washed and ready to be cooked before the cooking has even begun. For dessert, Stewart treated her guests to a pomegranate-topped sorbet nestled alongside Moroccan blood orange shortbread, a dessert that's easy to bake.