How to Make Rappie Pie

rappie pie

Rappie Pie is a delicious concoction of potatoes and chicken that is unique to the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores region. It's actually an old Acadian recipe (as in, a couple hundred years old…) that speaks to the resourcefulness and creativity of the Acadian people.

Rappie pie is not a pie in the traditional sense. It's referred to as "râpure" in French, which is derived from the French verb râper, which means "to grate." To make rappie pie, you need to grate potatoes, remove the juice (which is full of starch) and replace it with chicken broth. You then pour the potato and broth mixture into a large pan, layer in some chicken, and bake the "pie" for a few hours. A hallmark of a good rappie pie is a dark crust on top. This is not a pastry crust, but is actually potatoes that form a crust. All in all, rappie pie may sound and look quite different,but it's a must-have while in the area.

In my family, we have rappie pie every Christmas Eve, on special occasions (like birthdays and baby showers), potlucks or sometimes when we just feel like it. I always have a pie on hand in the freezer, and we might eat it for lunch or a quick evening meal. My family prefers a more "thick" rappie pie, but others prefer runnier pies. It's really a personal preference that can vary from community to community and person to person. If you ever want to start a good debate, ask a group of people how they like their rappie pie.

There are two ways to eat rappie pie:

  1. 1. Directly from the oven.
  2. 2. Fried the next day in butter in a frying pan (my personal favourite method)

In terms of condiments, you can use just about anything. Typical options include pickles, butter or molasses, but some people will use ketchup. I personally usually eat it without any condiments.

Rappie pie can be a heavy meal, so it's best accompanied with a fresh garden salad.

YASTA's tourism development officer, Charles Robicheau, made a rappie pie the other day and documented the process and his recipe. This should serve as a good guide for you if you want to make this dish while at home. If you Google "rappie pie," there are several other versions online — browse a few and get a sense for the method that will work best for you.

Just about every restaurant in Yarmouth & Acadian Shores serves rappie pie, and you can also purchase pre-made pies at all the local grocery stores. To save everyone some time, D'Eon's rappie pie from Pubnico sells bags of pre-grated potatoes. They are usually found in the meat aisles, and are a huge time saver!

Charles' Rappie Pie Recipe…

Ingredients:

rappie pie ingredients

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  • a 20 lb bag of potatoes (you will use all the potatoes in the bag)
  • 2 whole chickens (about 5 pounds each)
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of salted green onions
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 40 cups water
  • butter (to grease the pan)
  • Oxo chicken stock (optional)
  • bacon (1/2 pack) or pork fat (optional)

You will also need a large bowl, a very large pot, and a 40*60 cm baking pan. 

Directions 

1. Mix the Oxo bouillon cubes into the water. This will add flavour to your chicken broth, which you will use later. 

2. Place the raw whole chickens, along with the chopped and salted onions, into the 40 cups of water.

3. Cook for approximately two hours until the chicken is tender. 

4. While the chicken is cooking, get started on the potatoes. Wash each potato, and remove the skins and eyes. Place the peeled potatoes into a bowl of cool water, so that they don't lose their colour. 

potatoes in water

5. Once the chickens are cooked, let them cool and then debone them. Cut up the chicken meat into bite-sized pieces. 

deboned chicken

6. Grate the potatoes and remove the juice. This can be very time consuming, and there are two methods to complete this task. Modern day technology has improved this process immensely over the process from a few hundred years ago:

a. Break out your juicer. Cut the peeled potatoes so that they fit into the juicer. After the potatoes have been through the juicer, discard the liquid and keep the solid mixture. (just the opposite of what you would do if you were making juice). 20 lbs of whole potatoes should make 6 lbs of grated potatoes. 

raw potatoes

food processor juice

b. Grate the potatoes by hand (make sure you have a good, steady grater; a commercial grater works best). Once you have grated all of the potatoes, take a cheese cloth or a pillow case, and place all of the potatoes into the case. Seal and squeeze out all of the juice. Make sure you get out all of the juice — you may have to squeeze everything a few times. The remaining mixture will resemble the below photo: 

potato pulp without the juice

* Note: the grated potatoes will lose colour quickly. Make sure to keep your broth at a low boil, so that it can be added back into the mixture quickly.

7. Place the grated potato pulp (juice removed) into a large bowl.

8. Add 30 cups of the remaining chicken broth to the potato pulp. It works best to add about 4 cups of broth at a time. Make sure to continually stir the pulp and broth with a whisk. The more broth you add, the runnier your rappie pie will be. Add in the salt and pepper at this time as well.

chicken broth

start whisking

whisk away!

don't stop whisking

9. Pour half of the mixture into your large pan, which should be greased with butter.

into the pan

pour

10. Add in the chicken pieces to the top of the potato mixture.

the chicken is on the pie

11. Pour the remaining potato mixture onto the top of the chicken in the pan.

12. For additional flavour, you can add bacon or cubed pieces of pork fat to the top of the rappie pie. This is a personal preference, and it something that my family always does.

13. Bake the pie in the oven for three hours at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

And here is the final product!!

Charles' personal preferences:

- He starts off the rappie pie at 450 F for an hour, and then lowers the heat to 400 for the next 2 hours. Charles finds that this makes for a better crust.

- What additional flavours that you use to flavor your broth is up to you; some people add different herbs and spices.

Comments

  1. victor deveau on said:

    Best recepie I have seen and the closest to what I have learned in my 65 years of life. The best is always by hand.

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