Rappie pie is the most well-known and loved Acadian dish. It’s a delicious mix of potatoes and chicken, and it’s unique to the region.
It’s not a pie in the conventional sense, as there is no pastry crust. But it is a popular local dish, and in many households, a tradition for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas. If you want to try rappie pie even before your visit, we suggest following the recipe of our own Charles Robicheau, the YASTA tourism development officer.
Rappie Pie by Charles
There are two ways to eat rappie pie:
1. Directly from the oven.
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.
· 20 lb bag of potatoes
· 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 40x60cm baking pan.
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 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.
5. Once the chickens are cooked, let them cool and then debone them. Cut up the chicken meat into bite-sized pieces.
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). 20lbs of whole potatoes should make 6lbs of grated potatoes.
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 photo below:
*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.
9. Pour half of the mixture into your large pan, which should be greased with butter.
10. Add in the chicken pieces to the top of the potato mixture.
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!
A few other notes:
I start off the rappie pie at 450°F for an hour, and then lower the heat to 400°F for the next 2 hours. I find that this makes for a better crust.
Additional flavours for your broth are up to you. Some people add different herbs and spices.